Demian Maia earned his 21 st UFC victory on Saturday night with a suffocating performance to stop Rocco Martin’s four fight win streak since moving to welterweight.
It was a classic Maia performance heavy on takedowns and ground control as he put Martin on the canvas several times while avoiding a late comeback attempt to earn a majority decision with the scorecards reading 29-28, 29-28 and 28-28.
Never one to shy away from what he does best, Maia was in quick pursuit of Martin as soon as the fight started looking to drag him to the mat to apply his world class grappling game. While Maia was able to eventually land the takedown in the opening round, Martin did a good job playing defense before working his way back to the feet.
Unfortunately, Martin was unable to break free of Maia’s grasp in the second round as the multi-time grappling champion was once again relentless in taking him to the canvas. Maia failed to latch onto a submission, but he remained in suffocating control with Martin struggling to find room to breathe.
The third round finally saw Martin avoid going to the ground, which resulted in the American Top Team fighter landing his best punch of the fight with a stinging right hand that wobbled Maia for a moment. Martin immediately followed up with a flurry trying to take advantage but Maia was able to pull him down to the mat to negate taking any further damage.
When the horn sounded, Maia knew he had done enough to earn the win while a frustrated Martin was obviously upset with himself at the result of the fight.
Maia has now won back-to-back fights as he continues to terrorize any welterweight contender looking at him as a gatekeeper to the top-10 in the division.