Veteran UFC contender Damian Maia earned a split-decision victory over Jorge Masvidal in a welterweight championship eliminator bout on the main card of UFC 211 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, Saturday night.
Maia earned the 29-28 decision on two of the judges’ scorecards, and Masvidal earned a 29-28 decision on the third card.
Early in the first round, Maia secured a body triangle with his legs around the waist of his opponent, and held control of Masvidal’s back for 3:44 of the five-minute stanza. Maia used the back advantage to land 38 of his 44 attempts (87 percent), but none of those were considered significant, according to FightMetric.
Maia was successful on two of his five takedown attempts, but ended the first round on his back with Masvidal landing punches in bunches.
Masvidal landed 24 of his 28 strikes, and 13 were significant in the first round.
The second round had an interesting pace as Maia, a Brazilian ju-jitsu practitioner, turned the fight into a grappling contest.
Despite missing on all five of his takedown attempts and not landing a strike until the final 40 seconds of the round, Maia rolled over Masvidal and held control on the ground for more than two minutes and landed 11 of his final 12 strike attempts in the second round.
In the third round, Maia secured his third takedown, in 12 attempts, and held control of Masvidal’s back for nearly two-and-a-half minutes. Maia used the advantage to land 17 of his 24 strike attempts (71 percent), as opposed to 13 strikes from Masvidal.