Demian Maia used his vaunted Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) game to stifle #14-ranked welterweight Ryan LaFlare, and then held off a late comeback to earn a unanimous decision win at UFC Fight Night Rio.
Maia took the fight to the ground, dominating LaFlare and keeping him from using his striking, but ran out of gas in the fifth round, where LaFlare mounted some late offence.
But it was too little, too late.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
Gilbert Burns, Godofredo Pepey, Kevin Souza and Fredy Serrano earned $50,000 USD performance-of-the-night bonuses.
There was no fight-of-the-night bonus.
MMA Crossfire Expert Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card.
GODOFREDO PEPEY VS ANDRE FILI
ANDREWS PREDICTION: ANDRE FILI VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
WINNER: GODOFREDO PEPEY VIA SUBMISSION
Andrews: This was a much more improved Pepey than I and even Fili probably thought. Nobody saw that flying triangle coming. A great win and submission for Pepey.
GILBERT “DURINHO” BURNS VS ALEX “COWBOY” OLIVEIRA
ANDREWS PREDICTION: GILBERT BURNS VIA SUBMISSION
WINNER: GILBERTO BURNS VIA SUBMISSION
Andrews: Burns fell behind early and needed an impressive comeback to submit the Cowboy. Great win for Burns.
#9 AMANDA “THE LIONESS” NUNES VS SHAYNA “THE QUEEN OF SPADES” BASZLER
ANDREWS PREDICTION: AMANDA NUNES VIA TKO
WINNER: AMANDA NUNES VIA FIRST ROUND TKO 1:23
Andrews: Nunes overpowered Baszler almost from the opening bell. She continues to show she learned from her loss to Cat Zingano, a bout that started similairy to this fight.
LEONARD SANTOS VS TONY MARTIN
ANDREWS PREDICTION: LEONARD SANTOS VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
WINNER: LEONARD SANTOS VIA TKO
Andrews: The youth and energy of Martin was no match for the experience of Santos. An excellent submission win for Santos.
ERICK SILVA VS JOSH “KOS” KOSCHECK
ANDREWS PREDICTION: ERICK SILVA VIA TKO
WINNER: ERICK SILVA VIA SUBMISSION
Andrews: It’s time, Josh. Erick was too fast, and too skilled. Josh still has the knockout power chance, but that’s simply not enough to compete in the division. Silva continues to mature in the octagon.
#7 DEMIAN MAIA VS #14 RYAN LAFLARE
ANDREWS PREDICTION: RYAN LAFLARE VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
WINNER: DEMIAN MAIA VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Andrews: To hear LaFlare say in the post-fight press conference that he underestimated Maia’s ground game was mind-boggling. How do go into the biggest fight of you career against a guy feared for his ground game and underestimate his strength? A good win for Maia, who got tired of dominating LaFlare on the ground. LaFlare needs to prepare better in order to compete with the contenders in the division.