If that sounds to you like a recipe for a close fight and a tight decision, you’re right.
Maia and Masvidal went back and forth for 15 minutes in their welterweight showdown at UFC 211 before going to the scorecards. Maia, the Brazilian veteran, got the nod in Dallas, earning two out of three 29-28 scores at American Airlines Center.
With his seventh straight victory, Maia is expected to get the next shot at Tyron Woodley’s welterweight title. UFC president Dana White told himself immediately after the bout.
Maia (25-6) looked all ready to finish Masvidal, as he scored an early takedown, and a scramble ended up with Maia bodylocking a standing Masvidal and getting his back. They remained in that position for the bulk of the round. Masvidal, however, busted out late and delivered a significant amount of strikes in the round’s closing seconds.
Both the second and third rounds were similar tales, as Masvidal got off to good starts with his striking -- in particular, he stung Maia with a kick to the knee early in the third -- but Maia took over around the midway point of each round and outgrappled Masvidal, certainly making the rounds interesting calls on the scorecards.
“He’s one of the best jiu-jitsu fighters I ever fought in the UFC, I thought I was winning because he didn’t really dominate the standup,” Maia said. ... “Down on the ground, I was totally dominating.
Masvidal (32-12) had a three-fight win streak snapped.