I earlier predicted that Demian Maia vs. Rory MacDonald would be the fight to watch, and oh boy was it.
The fight itself was the classic striker vs. grappler match, and I predicted that the person to get off first would be the winner. It seemed that Maia was destined to submit the younger MacDonald, but the fates that be decided to make the fight a little more interesting by having MacDonald survive the initial onslaught by Maia. MacDonald went on to dominate on the feet but was not able to finish the struggling Maia.
From the opening bell, it was very obvious that Maia wanted nothing to do with the striking department and I was psyched about that. Too many fighters want to stand and bang; they want to put on a show for the fans because that is what Dana White wants. Maia is not that type of fighter; he understands where his advantages lie and he is going to take the fight there or lose trying. I respect that; heck, I pay to watch that. A realistic fighter is a successful fighter, but Maia bit off a little more than he could chew. Maia showed some serious improvement in his striking; he was able to get off some good combinations against MacDonald and even stumbled the young “Ares” a couple of times. Still, MacDonald was the smarter striker and began to target the body that seriously took the spring out of Maia’s shoots as well as his confidence.
Maia kept shooting for takedowns throughout the entire fight, but was unable to mount any other serious offense. It was a gritty showing from Maia, trying to get the fight down to the ground until the final bell, but MacDonald just inflicted too much damage for Maia to recover from. It is obvious that Maia has the heart to compete with the top of the division, now he only needs to round out his striking skills.