UFC Chile went down in Santiago Chile, on Saturday, and was topped by welterweight contenders Demian Maia and Kamaru Usman. And while they battled it out for five rounds, it won’t be a bout free of criticism.
The main event of UFC Chile that fans got wasn’t the one they’d originally been promised. That, of course, was supposed to feature Kamaru Usman against Argentina’s Santiago Ponzinibbio. However, an injury to Ponzinibbio forced him off the card. In stepped former welterweight (and middleweight) challenger Demian Maia to take on Usman. It was a key fight for both men, with Maia coming off back to back losses. Usman, meanwhile, was undefeated in the UFC and looking to prove he was a top five fighter.
Round one began with Usman looking very loose and landing some leg kicks. Predictably, Maia shot for the takedown and he got it, but Usman got up almost immediately. However Maia pushed him to the cage and got him into a bit of a twister position. Maia attempted to get the hooks in on Usman; the two then were separated as there was a bit of a stalemate. Maia and Usman both landed some nice shots by the end of the first.
In round two Usman looked crisp with his striking. Maia shot for a takedown that Usman sprawled on. The two traded, and Maia shot again; once again he couldn’t land the takedown. Maia looked to land some nice lefts, but Usman was the much quicker fighter and better striker. Maia shot for a single leg but couldn’t continued to struggle, his gas tank was quickly going to become an issue. The rounded ended as Demain pulled guard but had no time to work.
Round three was a round that was spent almost entirely on the feet, sans Maia shooting for two takedowns. Usman looked like the cleaner, fresher fighter, landing the better punches as Maia appeared to be gassing hardcore. The round ended as Maia shot for a takedown and once again couldn’t secure it. Usman was likely up three rounds at that point.
Round four began with a massive right hand from Usman, and Maia was hurt! Usman was landing major ground and pound, looking like he wanted the finish. Usman got back to his feet as Maia shot for yet another takedown, which was again stuffed. Usman landed some short punches. The round past that point was mostly Usman looking for anything of significance and Maia shooting for takedowns.
Round five was a repeat of the bout’s earlier action. An exhausted Demain Maia tried and failed to land takedowns as Usman stayed on the outside and landed some decent, but not super powerful strikes. At one point Usman was on top in a north south position and Maia looked for an arm triangle but couldn’t get it done. Usman dominated the round and the entire fight as Maia was just drained after the first frame. The judge’s scorecards reflected just that, with Maia winning just a single frame on two of three scorecards.
Kamaru Usman def. Demian Maia by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)