A pair of debuting prospects landed on the UFC 266 early prelims, as middleweights Cody Brundage and Nick Maximov faced off.
For those following the Contender Series, Brundage’s name likely rang a bell. He’d appeared on the show last season, up against William Knight, and lost the fight only to bounce back under the LFA banner.
Maximov was another Contender Series name, one who fought well above his natural weight in a heavyweight bout on the show last year. While he won the fight, he didn’t end up earning a UFC contract — but it’s clear the promotion had their eye on him regardless.
Brundage started the fight strong throwing a flying knee. Although he missed the flying knee, he did land a step-in knee shortly thereafter. Brundage landed a good right hand and Maximov fired back, landing a few of his own. Maximov was having a little trouble on the outside but finally went in for a takedown. He didn’t get it on the first attempt but adjusted and finally landed it. Brundage used a kimura lock to immediately get back to the feet; Maximov shot right back into another takedown and got it. Brundage tried again for the kimura but Maximov defended and solidified top position. Maximov landed some good ground and pound until Brundage got back to his feet as the round ended.
In round two it was Brundage that shot right away for a takedown. Doing that allowed Maximov to sprawl and take the back of Brundage. Brundage was able to defend perfectly and would work his way back to his feet. Maximov was still pressing against the cage; he then shot in on a leg. Brundage made the mistake of dropping guard for a failed guillotine letting Maximov back on top. Brundage turned to his knees allowing Maximov to take the back, which is where he finished the round.
In the final stanza, Maximov shot in for a single leg. Brundage defended but Maximov re-shot again and took Brundage down to a knee. Brundage kept getting taken down along the fence, but he also kept getting back up. Maximov did mess up going for a takedown and went to his back. Brundage capitalized and landed some good ground and pound cutting the head of Maximov. After some back and forth scrambles Maximov ended the fight on top landed some ground and pound.
A dominant performance from @NickMax15 in his UFC debut 👊
— UFC (@ufc) September 25, 2021
Overall, a strong debut performance for Maximov. Given Brundage took the fight on short notice, he’ll get another look. But on Saturday, Maximov did the Diaz brothers proud.
Official Result: Nick Maximov def. Cody Brundage by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)