Read on for UFC Fight Night main event results...
What could have been a star-making turn for Long Island welterweight Ryan LaFlare on Saturday night instead turned into a reminder why Demian Maia is one of the top groundfighters in the sport, as the Brazilian contender put together a Jiu-Jitsu clinic in winning a five-round unanimous decision in the UFC Fight Night main event at Ginasio do Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Scores were 48-46 across the board for the number seven-ranked Maia.
After some tense stand-up to begin, Maia hit a takedown in the second minute, working hard to improve his position from the time the bout hit the canvas. LaFlare’s defense was solid, but Maia was able to secure the mount. Fortunately for the New Yorker, Maia wasn’t able to get him into any further trouble, even if he did remain in control for the remainder of the round.
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LaFlare stuffed Maia’s first takedown attempt of round two, but the second came up aces for the Brazilian, who again assumed control on the ground. LaFlare continued to be game, but he was unable to stop Maia from moving back into the mount with 90 seconds remaining. An arm triangle attempt followed, LaFlare escaping and making it to the bell.
Having some success with his striking, LaFlare also reversed a takedown on Maia in the third, ending up in the top position. But in an ensuing scramble, Maia was able to get back on top and in the mount, and he kept LaFlare on his back once more.
There was more of the same in round four, LaFlare having sporadic success on the feet before another Maia takedown allowed the Brazilian to take over. Maia came close finishing in the final minute, but LaFlare was able to hold out to the bell while in the grip of an arm triangle.
Down four rounds, LaFlare marched forward in the final round, trying to turn the fight around while tossing aside several takedown attempts by the fatigued Maia. As the final 2:30 approached, the fight became a war of nerves, with LaFlare seemingly one hard flurry away from victory as the exhausted Maia tried to buy time. With a little over a minute left, Maia finally got his first takedown of the round, allowing him to keep his opponent at bay and run the clock down. Maia did lose a point from referee John McCarthy for stalling just before the bell, but it was of no consequence in the final verdict.
With the win, Sao Paulo’s Maia improves to 20-6; LaFlare falls to 11-1.