A key welterweight fight between former title challenger Demian Maia and surging division contender Kamaru Usman served as the headliner of tonight’s UFC Fight Night 129 event in Chile.
Round one begins and Kamaru Usman starts off quickly. He throws a jab and then another. Maia is circling looking for a way inside. Demian shoots in and secures a takedown. Usman immediately scrambles and is lucky to get back to his feet. Maia stays on him and ends up securing Usman in what looks like a standing twister position. Maia begins to throw some punches and suddenly the referee steps in and breaks up the fighters. That was an odd break up. Regardless we continue and Usman takes the center of the octagon. Kamaru with a jab. Maia answers with a left hand over the top. Maia circles along the cage. He fires off a left that misses. Usman lands a right and the horn sounds to end round one.
Round two begins and both men are happy to stand and trade jabs early. Usman with a crisp left hand. Maia shoots in for a double leg takedown but Kamaru stuffs it easily. Usman working in some short shots from the top right now. He has to be careful not to let Maia get a hold of him here. Usman scrambles up to his feet. Kamaru with another nice jab. Maia leaps in with a left hand over the top that misses the mark. Maia shoots in for another takedown attempt but once again Usman says no. That is not good news for Maia who is clearly struggling in the stand-up. Usman continues to be patient he throws a left hand. Maia shoots in for a single leg takedown but once again is denied by “The Nigerian Nightmare“. Usman leaps in with an uppercut. Maia avoids the shot and grabs a hold of the clinch. Maia is able to pull guard but only twenty seconds remain in round two. The horn sounds and we head to round three.
Round three begins and Maia finds a home for his left hand early. Usman circles and then comes forward with a shot to the body followed by a right hand over the top. The fighters meet in the center of the octagon and throw punches. Usman begins to get the better of the exchanges and Maia retreats. Usman with a nice low kick. He is forcing the pressure now. Usman with a left and then a right hand behind it. Maia responds with a left of his own but gets countered with a hard shot from Usman. Maia shoots in for a takedown but it is stuffed by Kamaru. Usman fires off a shot and the horn sounds to end round three.
Round four begins and Usman lands a big right hand that sends Maia crashing to the floor. Usman jumps on Demian with some ground and pound but Maia appears to be recovered so Kamaru opts to stand back up. Maia immediately shoots in for a takedown but it is not there. He attempts another but once again Usman is able to fight him off. Maia looks exhausted now. Still, he manages to fire off another single leg takedown attempt. Once again Usman says no. Maia attempts to pull guard but Usman is not having it. We are back on the feet and Maia is still moving well. He circles along the cage and the horn sounds to end round four.
Round five begins and Usman comes out swinging early. He lands a shot to the body of Maia followed by a stiff jab. Maia circles along the outside. Usman cuts him off and forces him to stand and trade. Maia quickly opts to shoot in for a takedown but it is not there. Usman tells Maia to stand back up and we are back to striking. Usman with a combination. He lands a low kick. Maia again shoots in but Usman avoids being taken down and winds up in top position. Maia is looking to lock in a submission but Usman is wise to it and scrambles back to his feet. Maia once again attempts to pull guard and this time Usman follows him and lands some hammer fists. Kamaru quickly postures back up and tells Maia to do the same. Demain stands up. He lands a spinning kick. Usman with a right hand. The horn sounds to end round five.