The marquee welterweight attraction on the UFC 211 main card in Dallas saw Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia fight in a matchup that was pegged as a #1 contender’s bout. In a close, back-and-forth battle between two contrasting styles, the BJJ ace earned a split decision, as well as a title shot.
Masvidal stopped Maia’s first takedown but was taken down the second time. “Gamebred” was able to return to his feet and punch Maia’s face, with Demian holding onto a single leg. Persistent as ever, Maia put Masvidal on the canvas and then took his back. Masvidal controlled Maia’s left hand as the Brazilian sought the standing rear-naked choke. Masvidal was in survival mode, Maia softening him up with punches while on him like a backpack. Jorge snapped back a good elbow and then shook free of the body triangle. Masvidal closed the round strongly with hard ground-and-pound punches after avoiding the usual death trap that is Demian Maia in a dominant position.
Masvidal stuffed the takedown early in round 2 and then slammed home two leg kicks. He sprawled on another Maia shot and again attacked the leg. Maia was outmatched on the feet and needed a takedown in the worst way. He dropped to half-guard but Masvidal would not let him get full control. Masvidal stopped another takedown but Maia was able to scramble to top position. Maia fended off the anaconda choke. Masvidal was able to return to his feet but Maia was draped over his back, bleeding from the strikes landed. The Florida-based fighter did extremely well to not get put in danger of being submitted, but Maia did control Jorge on the ground in the closing minutes of the middle frame.
Masvidal buckled Maia’s rear leg with a strong kick to start round 3. Maia scarcely threw anything of consequence and got tagged with a body kick. Maia had a single-leg but didn’t complete it. Masvidal did fall when defending it and Maia rushed forward to get to top position. This time Maia had Masvidal’s back on the mat, with the body triangle in place. Maia flattened Masvidal out and rendered Jorge unable to do much of anything. Demian threw a few strikes but never had a serious submission attempt in place.
Official result: Demian Maia def. Jorge Masvidal by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
UFC president Dana White said “you got it!” to Maia, who walked towards him after the decision was read. It’ll be Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia next up (we assume).
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