Nothing came easy but Nick Maximov remained undefeated with a hard-fought split decision win over Punahele Soriano at UFC Vegas 47.
With blood dripping into his eye for most of the fight, Maximov relied on his wrestling to take Soriano to the ground repeatedly, which helped him secure the win on the scorecards. Two judges gave Maximov the fight with scores of 30-27 and 29-28 while the third official give Soriano a 29-28 score.
Still it was enough for Maximov to get the win as he moves to 8-0 in his career and 2-0 in the UFC.
“Props to him, he’s good,” Maximov said afterwards. “It was all good. It was exactly what I expected. He’s a tough Hawaiian. So I’ve got nothing but respect for him. I would have liked to get the finish but it’s all good.”
The middleweights were swinging hard and heavy as soon as the action got started, which led to Maximov turning to his wrestling as he attempted to drag Soriano to the canvas. While he initially ended up on the ground, Soriano was able to scramble free to get back to his feet before unleashing a huge knee strike that opened a gash on Maximov’s face
In turn, Maximov rushed ahead for another takedown attempt, which then led to him taking Soriano’s back but the Hawaiian defended well to remain out of any serious trouble.
As time passed it was clear that Maximov was intent on dragging the fight down to the canvas with Soriano sprawling and attempting to scramble free from the takedown attempts. While Maximov was scoring with takedowns, he wasn’t able to do much damage with Soriano making him work for every position he got on the ground.
While he wasn’t really punishing Soriano with strikes, Maximov was giving him fits with his wrestling as he stayed attached like Velcro without ever giving The Contender Series veteran any room to breathe. Replays later showed that one particular takedown ended with Soriano seemingly suffering a knee injury, which could have played a part in his inability to get back to his feet in the latter half of the fight.
In desperation mode late, Soriano started ripping punches to the body just trying to mount a comeback but sadly it was too little, too late as Maximov’s grappling was just too much.
As a longtime teammate alongside Nick and Nate Diaz, Maximov definitely had a vocal support system behind him on Saturday night as he picked up another win over an incredibly tough opponent like Soriano.