Maia, who improved his UFC record to 13-6 with a unanimous decision win at The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 Finale card in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 31, feels frustrated going the distance again.
"It was a little frustrating. I tried to go for a submission, but he always took his head out," Maia told MMAFighting.com after his win. "He defended really well."
Yakovlev was making his UFC debut, and had suffered three of his four previous losses via submission, but Maia couldn’t get the tap despite being mounted on him for most of the fight.
"I tried to submit him the whole fight," he said. "I wouldn’t try anything stupid, but when you have the mount you’re in the best position so you have to punch him to create space, but he surprised me. He hugged me for three rounds, so I did what I had to do."
"I was coming off good wins and had those losses, so let’s see. It depends on my next fight," he said. "There are 102 guys in this division, so there are a lot of fighters to fight."
The UFC welterweight division gained a breath of fresh air with Georges St. Pierre's retirement and a rising crop of new contenders, and the former middleweight title contender still hopes to hold the UFC belt one day.
"The day I stop aiming for the title, I will stop fighting," Maia said. "That’s my goal and always will be, but I decided to stop thinking about it. Every time I think about it, it brings more pressure over me, and that was bad. I will continue fighting and see what happens."