Alexander Yakovlev had quite the mountain to climb in his UFC debut, but Demian Maia made sure that he wasn't going to get a win in Maia's hometown. The grappling specialist effectively shut down Yakovlev for most of the 15 minutes, spending over half the bout in the mount position but he was unable to get a finish. All three judges had it 30-27 for Maia.
The first round saw Maia looking to box and he wasn't immediately shooting for a takedown, which is a departure from his recent fights. He ended up dropping Yakovlev with a punch halfway through the round and jumped directly into mount, but Yakovlev survived on the bottom to see a second round.
The middle stanza saw Maia getting a nice takedown and some extended time in the mount position once again. He didn't look for a single submission though, preferring to drop elbows and punches. Yakovlev actually reversed him near the end of the round and did a little bit on top himself.
Maia looked to be a little shot in the gas tank department early in the third, with Yakovlev beating up his legs with kicks and even getting a takedown. Maia returned the favor though and got his own takedown, which was directly into mount. He once again preferred to strike, and Yakovlev was even able to get back to half guard for a few seconds. Maia got it right back to mount though and looked for a late armbar, but Yakovlev escaped and they went to the horn.
The win halted Maia's two-fight losing streak and brought his record at welterweight to 4-2. The fight was Yakovlev's UFC debut.