Photo by Scott Peterson via MMA Weekly
Grappling kingpin Demian Maia wanted to use former The Ultimate Fighter contestant Kendall Grove as a stepping stone back to a title shot. Grove, by contrast, wanted to prove he belonged among the short list of UFC middleweight contenders. Only two fighters in the UFC had ever been able to stymie Maia's ground attack: Anderson Silva and Nate Marquardt. The question of this fight was could Kendall Grove add his name to that list?
The first round opened with both fighters trying to establish dominance on the feet with Grove using his reach and counter strking effectively. Grove tried to stand early and did, although Maia immediately dragged him back to the floor...several times through several attempts. With two minutes left in the first Maia achieved mount. Grove attempted a scramble and achieved half guard, but Maia continued his pressing and GNP attack. With 45 seconds left Grove again spun over himself to create a scramble, but Maia stayed on the back. The round ended there with Maia on top in Grove's half guard.
Grove was able to land several big punches early, but Maia was able to get a takedown on his second attempt. Maia couldn't do much with and lost the position from a leglock attempt from Grove. Soon, though, Maia was able to get the takedown again after much back and forth with Grove. Maia eventually took Grove's back and while maintaining strong control, the Brazilian was not able to make any close submission attempts.
The early part of round three did not feature much action. Both fighters exchanged, but without landing or really even throwing anything significant. Maia attempted a takedown in the later minute and a half of the round, laboring strenuously to get it to the ground. Without being able to do it, the round and fight ended there.
The judges scored the bout 29-28 for Demian Maia.