Fighter Demian Maia picked up a much-needed win in his native Brazil, but it was far from a resounding victory over UFC newcomer Alexander Yakovlev at the TUF Brazil 3 finale. The 36-year-old Maia retained his top-10 status in the welterweight division by grinding out a unanimous decision victory to spoil the Russian fighter’s Octagon debut. It snapped the first two-fight losing skid of Maia’s career.
The No. 8 ranked Maia had his moments in the opening round in the stand-up department, landing a huge left hand that dropped Yakovlev, but surprisingly didn’t seem too intent on going for a submission finish when he had his opponent mounted. The jiu-jitsu ace had a number of opportunities throughout the course of the fight to go for the finish, but seemed content to land elbows and punches from top position as Yakovlev held on for dear life from the bottom.
“Bad Boy” had some urgency in his game to start the final round as he was able to land a number of solid leg kicks and appeared to stun Maia with an uppercut. However, the cagey veteran would secure another trip takedown and would ride out the clock in firm control. All three judges scored the fight 30-27 in Maia’s favor.
Yakovlev saw his three-fight win streak come to an end, but gained a moral victory by being able to last the distance against the dangerous submission specialist. He’ll likely get another Octagon opportunity and hopefully matchmakers will consider pairing him against a striker in his next assignment.