Saturday night, the Honda Center in Anaheim, California played host to UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2. The co-main event saw Tyron Woodley defend his UFC Welterweight Championship against Demian Maia in a five round contest. It was Woodley’s first title defense against someone not named Stephen Thompson.
UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley stepped into the cage for the third time since defeating Robbie Lawler by KO last year to secure UFC Welterweight title. He entered this contest looking to solidify his championship status with a win over Brazilian ace Demian Maia. Woodley had struggled with image issues; this bout was an opportunity to silence his critics.
Demian Maia came into UFC 214 riding a seven fight win streak with his most recent victory coming over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 by split decision. He was looking to utilize his submission game, with the key to victory for the Brazilian being successfully taking Woodley to the mat.
In the end, that turned out easier said than done.
The first round saw Maia shooting for the take down with Woodley being able to stuff and walk away from each attempt. Woodley seemed content to wait for the Brazilian to make his move then react. This turned out to be the entirety of the fight with Maia working for the take down, Woodley stuffing it and then moving away then waiting to counter Maia’s next move. It played out in a rinse, repeat sort of situation across all five rounds of the fight. Woodley refrained from using kicks lest he slip up and wind up on the ground with Maia.
Maia, for his part, was unable to secure a single takedown against Woodley; Maia’s attempts got sloppier as time went on. This was not helped by an eye injury the challenger suffered early in the first round of the fight.
Ultimately, the fight set a record for the least amount of strikes in a UFC welterweight championship fight. With the crowd chanting “boring” towards then end, Tyron Woodley retained the belt, but failed to win any new fans on the night. That said, he fought smart, doing what he needed to hold on to his belt. In the end, if styles make fights, this one was a nightmare.
Tyron Woodley def. Demian Maia by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45) to retain the UFC welterweight title