Nick Maximov utilized relentless takedowns tonight at UFC Fight Night 200 to earn a split decision win over Punahale Soriano.
Right hand for Maximov. He lands it again and goes for a takedown off that, but Soriano stuffs it.
Maximov with a leg kick. Now a right hand and another takedown attempt, but as they go to the mat Soriano is countering nicely. 50-50 position and Soriano slowly works his way on top, but Maximov scrambles to improve his position and then they go back to the feet.
Right hand for Maximov and then a head kick attempt. Maximov tries for another takedown and a punch and a big knee from Soriano catches him and opens up a cut under the left eyebrow.
Maximov immediately working for a takedown again. Maximov gets to Soriano’s back and hops up onto it. Maximov working for a rear-naked choke as his opponent is still standing while leaning his head into the cage.
Maximov eventually slides off the back, but remains clinched to his back. Soriano turns into him as they go to the mat.
Maximov unable to securely take up top position as Soriano continues to counter-wrestle nicely and they are still battling for position as the round ends.
Both men looking to strike early. Nice land from Soriano and Maximov goes for the takedown and forces a scramble.
Back to striking and Soriano wades in with big punches and Maximov initiates a takedown again while blood leaks down that cut to his eyebrow.
Back upright and Soriano throws a kick upstairs and then works punches to the body. Maximov working a takedown to bring the action back to the mat as Soriano is immediately countering while landing punches.
Soriano setting up a switch, but Maximov blocks that and drives back upright, taking Soriano’s back as he presses him up to the cage.
Soriano attempts a backwards elbow. Maximov tries to work the takedown and Soriano’s wrestling defense continues to serve him well.
Maximov looks to grapevine the legs as he tries to get a more secure position on top. Soriano scoots away from that, but continues to have to defend Maximov’s relentless wrestling as the round ends.
Leg kicks for Maximov and then a jumping switch kick to the body. From that he then manages to land a takedown.
Soriano working to the cage and is able to stand under fire. Maximov has his back and then lands a double-leg and Soriano is grimacing as if he’s hurt.
Uppercut from Maximov as Soriano tries to get up off his knees. Soriano stands again with Maximov clinched to his back. Maximov takes him down again. Soriano stands, but just can’t get Maximov off him and time is running out.
Up and down they go. Soriano able to lands a few body punches. More grinding work from Maximov though. Soriano standing and able to land some more thumping body shots as his opponent is still locked on his legs.
Finally the action returns to the feet but we’re in the dying seconds of the fight and Soriano is limping from what seems to have been a knee injury he sustained during a takedown earlier in the round.
Soriano was the more dangerous fighter in the striking department, but Maximov gave him little opportunity to make use of that as he adopted a grinding wrestling and clinch-work approach that ultimately led him to a split decision victory (28-29, 30-27, 29-28).