Sometimes fights get pegged as slugfests, and then UFC fans are disappointed when things move in another direction when the two competitors get inside the Octagon. You just get the feeling that Fabio Maldonado and Joey Beltran know exactly what they are all about, and that’s why their light heavyweight clash at Fight Night 29 shapes up as a brutally exciting fight.
Both veterans rely on a style of standing in the middle of the Octagon and punching — pretty simple. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but the heart that these two competitors show will always win favor with fans and top brass, no matter their records.
Maldonado has put together a 19-6 career record with 12 knockouts. His most recent effort was a decision victory against Roger Hollett. It was a badly needed win as it snapped a three-fight losing skid. Maldonado has the more precise and technical striking skills given his pedigree as a former professional boxer.
The Brazilian won all 22 of his fights before making the transition to MMA. Maldonado’s boxing background makes him go to the body a lot more than most UFC fighters, and he possesses a dangerous left hook.
The other thing about Maldonado is his insane ability to absorb punishment. His fight at UFC 153 against Glover Teixeira was an almost inhuman display of taking powerful shots from a brutally hard puncher without caving in. The bout was finally stopped by doctors after two rounds for Maldonado’s own safety.
“The Mexicutioner” is fresh off serving a nine-month suspension for a positive test for nandrolone. It changed a decision win over Igor Pokrajac to a no-contest. Beltran has struggled of late, going just 1-3-1 in his last five fights. This is his second stint with the organization, and it will mark his fourth fight since making the move down to light heavyweight from the heavyweight ranks.
Beltran has also exhibited a great ability to absorb punishment in the Octagon. The only time he’s ever been stopped was by knockout artist Lavar Johnson. Beltran has registered 14 career victories, with 11 of them coming by knockout. He’s only 4-5-1 during his UFC career, but’s it’s a habit of being in entertaining fights that has kept Beltran around.
Fans should be in for a treat in this one. Two warriors who never shy away from the stand-and-trade mantra are likely to put on quite a battle in Brazil.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports