As expected, Fabio Maldonado and Joey Beltran scrapped it out in their UFC Fight Night 29 light heavyweight bout. And also as expected, the fight was close. It wasn't pretty at times, but Maldonado managed to rebound from a rough first round to take a split decision win by definitely winning the second and eking out the third.
Beltran was very active and coming forward early in the first while Maldonado stuck to flicking jabs. Beltran looked for a takedown, but landed two low punches and received a warning. Beltran backed him up again and connected with his chin. As expected, they both attacked the body with knees and punches in the clinch. Any time they got a little separation they punched each other in the face, but most of the round was in close. Beltran got a late takedown.
The early part of round two looked similar to the opening of the fight - pressure and activity from Beltran, stiff jabs from Maldonado. After some clinching, Maldonado scored with a big uppercut and invited Beltran back against the cage. Beltran scored with two big elbows but still couldn't get a takedown. Beltran's pace started to slow slightly and Maldonado was able to score with some combos. His jab was also starting to land at will. It was a slugfest to close out the stanza.
Maldonado continued where he left off in the second with jabs and combos. Beltran came back with a left, which made Maldonado smile. They went back to the cage, but Beltran just could not get a takedown. Maldonado continued to egg Beltran on, and he got clipped a few times for his troubles. Maldonado landed a low punch. Beltran landed some punches then used a front headlock to drag Maldonado down to his knees. Beltran closed strong.