Demian Maia had his eyes set on a title shot with a win over Jake Shields in last night's UFC Fight Night 29 main event. But would Shields play spoiler in Maia's hometown of Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil?
The first round was fairly even, with Maia getting 2 early takedowns and even brief back control, but Shields was able to reverse into top position for the remainder of the round. Shields took command of rounds 2 and 3 with more stifling top control, and all Maia could muster off of his back was a triangle choke, which Shields thwarted before Maia could even get his legs locked in.
Rounds 4 and 5 saw a little bit more striking, with Maia getting the better of the exchanges but ultimately not hurting Shields with anything significant. Shields was unable to land any takedowns and was taken down himself in the 4th, but the referee hastily stood them up after less than a minute of ground work. Jake's best strikes were his kicks, while Maia used the left hand often. Maia and Shields also battled for cage control as Shields drove hard for takedowns while Maia stuffed and tried to put Jake against the fence. The horn sounded with the two (visibly tiring) combatants exchanging punches.
Official Result: Jake Shields def. Demian Maia by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
What was the high point of the fight?
Pretty much the grappling and battle for position, which Shields arguably had more success in avoiding the high level submissions of Demian Maia while countering with his own offense.
Where do these two go from here?
Shields (29-6-1, 1 NC) has now won his 3rd straight welterweight bout, and this win confirms he is once again a top 10 WW in the UFC. It's likely that his next opponent will be in the top 10 as well, but the question is whether or not Shields will be given another crack at a title fight.
Maia (18-5) is 36 years old next month, and welterweight is a deep enough division that it's hard to see him in the title picture again. A fight with the loser of Rory MacDonald/Robbie Lawler could be the next logical step in his career, and it would be his last gasp push for one more title fight.
Watch now, never, or later?
Personally I'd go with later. If grappling stalemates interspersed with kickboxing aren't your thing, then skip this.