Jennifer Maia earned her first UFC win on Saturday at UFC Nashville, with her striking giving her the edge against former bantamweight contender and current flyweight standout Alexis Davis.
The second of back-to-back fights on the women’s side at UFC Nashville on Saturday saw former bantamweight contender Alexis Davis taking on ex-Invicta FC flyweight champ Jennifer Maia. The 125lb battle went down on the evening’s preliminary card at the Tennessee event, also known as UFC on ESPN+ 6 or UFC Fight Night 148.
Maia had lost her UFC debut to Liz Carmouche last July, and was hoping to bounce back against Davis, who was 1-1 as a UFC flyweight. Prior to Saturday, she had lost against Katlyn Chookagian after a win over Carmouche.
Davis and Maia traded jabs and combos early, with Maia landing a jab-cross, and having a slight advantage on the feet. Davis opted to pursue a clinch, driving her opponent into the cage. She added knees to the thigh and body, which the Brazilian attempted to answer with some of her own. They traded off the break, and moved back to center. It wasn’t long before a Thai clinch led to the fence again.
It was back in the middle, however, where Maia was able to hurt Davis. Davis changed levels, and tried to lure Maia into her guard, but the former Invicta champ was having none of it. She forced Davis to stand up, and it was clear at the end of the frame that Maia was in control.
Alexis Davis was going to want to change things up in the second. Yet there was plenty of exchanging out in the open to start round two. Davis would finally get the action to the ground and get on top with a full three minutes remaining. She made it to mount, but Maia was able to trap a leg, forcing Davis to half-guard. That slowed Davis’ progress, as she tried to free her leg, or at least make space to land some blows. She would sneak in some elbows and short punches, and possibly do enough to even things up on the scorecards.
Maia’s movement was a step above her opponent to open the third. She looked to be the fresher fighter, and Davis would need to find a way in for a takedown. Instead she found herself trading, a situation she did not want to be in, as she had been on the losing end of the stand-up exchanges throughout the fight. Maia wisely mixed things up, going to the body in addition to targeting the head. Davis fired off a couple of kicks, to the body, and a push kick. However, what she was not able to do in the final frame was take the fight to the ground, and it was her undoing.
Jennifer Maia def. Alexis Davis by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)