Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
It was Kingsbury who left the Pearl at the Palms still rolling.
The veteran of season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter Kingsbury, a fighter who at one point had lost four in a row, has now won four straight UFC fights if you include his performance last night at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale.
How did he defeat the brazen Brazilian boxer?
Follow me after the jump to find out.
"Kingsbu" came out with a tremendous gameplan. Maldonado was known for his punching prowess so Kyle kept him on the the end of a series of leg kicks, push kicks and stiff jabs.
Whenever the Brazilian got too close for comfort, Kingsbury would put him in the Muay Thai plum and punish him with a series of knees. He would also shoot for takedowns as well but those were not nearly as effective as Maldonado showcased an improved ground game and threatened multiple times with guillotines. Maldonado's submission attempts forced Kingsbury to give up position to escape so the takedowns were a relative wash.
The Team Nogueira fighter also began to wise up to Kingsbury's clinch attack and began punishing his body with short uppercuts. His strikes eventually became so effective that they forced the former Arizona State Sun Devil to back away from his offensive attack.
Kingsbury's clinch takedowns were much more efficient than his shots and they put him in a significantly less perilous position. He would land directly in half guard or side control and it kept Maldonado from attacking with submissions.
By the third round, the American Kickboxing Academy product was gassing hard but he'd taken enough out of Maldonado in the two previous rounds that the Brazilian was unable to push the pace and go for the finish.
When it was all said and done, it was Kyle Kingsbury that walked away with the decision victory.
For Maldonado, his 11 fight win stream may be over, but he showed massive improvement over his UFC debut against James McSweeney. Fabio had a significantly improved ground game and his body attack was just as dangerous as ever. Look for him to be matched up with another lower level light heavyweight coming off a loss like Eliot Marshall or Steve Cantwell.
For Kingsbury, he continues to improve. He showcased significantly improved Muay Thai techniques in this bout and he was as ripped as ever but all that muscle may have contributed to him gassing in the third round.
The self-proclaimed fan of 80's music doesn't appear to have the overall talent to ever fight for a title, but he's exciting enough to step in there against some of the mid to upper level light heavyweights. Look for him to square off with a Cyrille Diabaté type fighter or perhaps the winner of Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Igor Pokrajac. It was also suggested that he could be Brandon Vera's return bout to the UFC.
What do you think Maniacs?
Was Kingsbury - Maldonado worthy of the "Fight of the Night" award? Can "Kingsbu" contend?