This is the UFC Fight Night 38 live blog for Fabio Maldonado vs. Gian Villante, a light heavyweight bout at Sunday night's UFC event at the Ginasio Nelio Dias in Natal, Brazil.
Maldonado, who has won two of his past five fights, will face Villante, who is 1-1 in the UFC, on the main card.
Check out the UFC Fight Night 38 live blog below.
Round 1: Referee is Herb Dean. Octagon girls have smiled and we're underway. VIllante trying for a takedown right off the bat, and he gets it. Side control, and he uses a knee to pin one of Maldonado's arms (at least momentarily). Still in side control, and he's trying to create leverage/room for strikes. Now he snatches Maldonado's back, and drives him headfirst into the fence. Big knees to the back of Maldonado's thighs. Long Island native so far having his way with Brazil's Maldonado. More long ranging knees crashing into Maldonado's thighs. Still with a bear bug on Maldonado, and after a couple more knees, takes Maldonado down again. Side control, and once again he uses his knees to pin a limb, this time Maldonado's leg. Posturing now as the crowd roars its disapproval. Maldonado gets a headlock, but Villante in side mount. Not a lot of action, but it's all Villante. Just suffocating the Brazilian. Not letting Maldonado get up, where he is most dangerous. Maldonado tying up Villante's limbs, and as Villante sits up for space he lands a left off his back. Nice short elbows from Villante. Couple of good shots to the hollow of Maldonado's ribs by Villante, who has controlled action from door-to-door in the first. MMA Fighting scores R1 for Villante, 10-9.
Round 2: Good looking left right out of the gate from Villante, and it staggers Maldonado. Now Maldonado returns fire and gets a couple of nice punches in; the best of the fight so far. Maldonado stalks forward, and this is where he wants the fight. Both fighters whiff there on an exchange; Villante trying to keep at a safe distance. Great jab from Maldonado lands, and another. Now he goes low to the body with his right, and, sensing the tide changing, Villante jumps in and grabs Maldonado on fence, turns him around at his back. Knees to the thighs, just like in first, and now drags him down to ground along fence, still on his back. Villante showing great strength here, manhandling Maldonado. They stand up and a huge knee in clinch bloodies Maldonado's forehead. They separate. And here we go! Wheelhouse action, both guys swinging hard. Big shots up top, then Maldonado comes in on the body and lands a great one-two. Villante looks like he's wobbled, as he glances up at the clock. Maldonado is a bloody mess; just macabre scene on his face, streaming down his thorax. Maldonado now with hands lower, but he's composed and fired. Villante eating his share now, this time a jab. He's having his way, another shot, then two to the liver from Maldonado. Villante just not answering. Fight is turning. Villante tries a takedown, and can't get it -- not even close this time. Villante takes a deep breath, he's definitely gassed. Maldonado is steadily moving forward and bringing heat. Another plodding shot right to the short of the ribcage, and then a one-two on the break. Moves in again and lands a right-left combo. Wow. Villante had his arms akimbo as Maldonado stalked in at the end. He's out of gas. MMA Fighting scores R2 for Maldonado, 10-9 (19-19 overall)
Round 3: Here we go. Maldonado moving forward. He comes up top with a combo, and now one-offs a jab to the stomach of Villante. Villante tried a takedown, but he just doesn't have the energy. Villante fakes a punch and tries for a double-leg, but Maldonado sees it and easy steps aside. Fight has slowed, but Maldonado is still bringing zip on those punches. Villnate tries a double-leg at center, and Maldonado sprawls. Nothing doing. Back they circle. Villante just trying to hang on for the bell here, as Maldonado jabs him two stiff shots. Now Maldonado goes to the body again; he's been changing levels since second round. Big shots from Maldonado land flush, and as Villante slams home a right Maldonado hits his own chin in invitation. More big shots from Maldonado, and for a moment VIllante drops. Maldonado walked away for a second thinking it was over. Maldonado just teeing off on the American know, uppercut just crushed Villante from inside. Villante is so gassed he can barely put up a fighter pose. He still digs in and lunges in slow motion for a takedown, but nothing doing. Maldonado comes in on fence and just gets thrashing him with hooks, now inside punches. Villante breaks from skirmish and staggers across the ring nearly falling over. Tries for a takedown at the end, but it has nothing on it. All Maldonado. MMA Fighting scores R3 for Maldonado, 10-8 (29-27 overall for Maldonado).
UFC Fight Night 38 officials results: Fabio Maldonado def. Gian Villante via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)