UFC Vegas 63: Max Griffin Wins Split Over Tim Means, Puts Spotlight on Coach’s ALS Battle

Max Griffin and Tim Means, UFC Vegas 63
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 29: (L-R) Max Griffin punches Tim Means in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 29, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Longtime UFC veteran Tim Means faced off with Max Griffin in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 63 on Saturday.

Griffin fell short earlier this year in his bid to earn a ranking next to his name when he lost to Neil Magny by split decision. Still, Max was impressive in that fight, as he knocked the perennial contender down, and in the three wins before it which saw him reverse his fortunes after a 3-6 start to his UFC career. Griffin has had a run of tough opponents in his career including Colby Covington, Mike Perry, and Carlos Condit and Means would only continue that trend. This would be Means’ forty-seventh MMA fight including twenty-five UFC fights, and would be his fifteenth UFC win if he could beat Max Griffin.

Max Griffin came out swinging hard and Tim Means met him right in the center. Griffin was bouncy on the outside and would pop in with a leg kick or a single punch. Almost one minute into the fight he landed a big combination of punches that dropped Tim Means and almost put him out. Griffin jumped on him and tried to finish with elbows but Means was able to lock him down and keep him from landing more strikes. Then Tim turtled up, grabbed Griffin’s leg, and reversed the position.

They both got up and Means maintained the clinch while he recovered. Max was targeting the body but Means had keyed onto that and was now countering with high knees, although none connected cleanly at first they were coming close. Tim began to use front kicks to the stomach to keep Griffin at bay. Max was swinging big and it sometimes paid off, as he landed two big right hands. They seemed to hurt Tim at first but he recovered quickly, or played it off well. Another big right hand staggered Means slightly as the clock ticked past one minute. The speed advantage was keeping Griffin out of harms reach when he wanted to be. With half a minute left in the round Max Griffin shot a takedown but means defended it well with his back to the fence and ended the round there, in the clinch.

Right out of the gate in round two both men connected cleanly with hard strikes. Tim was using open palm slaps on his hooks oftentimes, like a Diaz brother. Around the minute mark Tim got countered as he went for a body shot. He landed, but left his head open, which had been a theme of the fight so far. A big leg kick took Means’ leg out from under him a minute later, but Tim was cutting Griffin off better and punishing him for his attacks.

At the halfway point, the round felt neck and neck. Tim Means was staying busy while Griffin began to have less output, perhaps pointing to a cardio issue, maybe even having burnt himself out a bit looking for the finish in round one. As the last minute came around Means had slightly pulled ahead based solely off output. However, with forty seconds left Griffin landed a perfect, straight right hand that put Means onto his knees. Max took advantage and jumped on top of Means, ending up in guard. Means used short hammer fists to land damage from his back as the round ended, maybe feeling that he had to do anything he could to win points after coming so close to winning the round before getting dropped.

Perhaps down two rounds after getting hurt badly twice, Tim Means came out with strong forward pressure and quickly went for a takedown in the third. However, Griffin reversed it and got a double leg of his own against the fence. He got his hands behind Tim’s butt, sat him down, and got on top in full guard. Means was not going to quit though, as he quickly scooted to the fence and tried to put his back to it so he could wall-walk. Griffin’s top pressure was heavy, and Means could not create any space to get up as he was smothered. Max eschewed damage entirely for control, but as he was ahead two rounds it was smart and he was still constantly working, as it was no easy task to hold down ‘Dirty Bird.’

Means finally was able to create space and get to his feet but Max got in on a double leg again and when Tim went for a switch, Griffin sat him on his butt once more. Means’ back was to the fence but Max worked hard to keep in control and smother his opponent. At the one minute mark Tim Means struggled back to his feet again and was able to reverse the clinch, land a knee, and then get in on a takedown of his own. He put Griffin on his butt but would it be enough to win the fight? It seemed unlikely though he did good damage in that brief period, landing a big knee to the stomach of Max Griffin in the closing seconds.

When Joe Martinez read the scorecards the only surprise was that one scorecard for Tim Means, as Max Griffin got the split decision win on the back of his two knockdowns and his third round wrestling display, righting the ship after his fight with Neil Magny. Even Tim Means seemed to know that he had lost the fight, as he exchanged a knowing look with Griffin during the decision.

In his post-fight interview, Max Griffin gave a heartfelt shout out to his coach who had recently been diagnosed with ALS and discussed how he is raising money for the treatment. He also said how he could not feel his hand after the first and he thought he may have broken it, something which Brendan Fitzgerald had actually guessed at during the fight.

Official Result: Max Griffin def. Tim Means by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)