May 15, 2012; Fairfax, VA, USA; Igor Pokrajac (right) gives a high kick to Fabio Maldonado (left) during the Korean zombie vs Poirier event at Patriot Center. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE
The main card of UFC on FUEL TV 3: "Korean Zombie vs. Poirier" that took place tonight (Tues., May 15, 2012) at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia, featured a light heavyweight showdown featuring Igor Pokrajac vs. Fabio Maldonado.
While neither fighter came in with a ton of name value, Pokrajac's last 10 wins all came via finish and Maldonado's last bout was an absolute war, even if it was his first loss since 2007. In short, this one promised a war.
And it delivered in a big way.
Pokrajac and Maldonado exchanged punches and knees, both at distance and in the clinch, for three rounds and 15 minutes of awesome light heavyweight action before the judges were called upon to decide a winner.
Ultimately, they awarded the victory to Pokrajac by scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 29-28.
Maldonado opened with a looping overhand shot that missed badly. Pokrajac took advantage of the mistake by taking his foe's back and dragging him to the mat and straight into his half guard.
Not a good start for the Brazilian.
Instead of working towards a submission, Pokrajac simply rode out half guard and scored points with superior position and a mix of punches and elbows. Finally, Maldonado escaped and got to his feet, much to the delight of the live crowd.
Once they got back to standing, Maldonado started unloading punches while Pokrajac just covered up his face and hoped to survive. That's what he did, too, grabbing a clinch at the earliest opportunity.
They traded shots from the clinch with Maldonado landing hard to the body while Pokrajac was working a Thai Plum and scoring with big knees. What a crazy end to the round that looked like it was one-sided as could be in the first few minutes.
Into the second round and Maldonado was winging his punches again. Pokrajac stayed patient, hoping to find his range from the outside. He found his most success when he jumped in, however, landing multiple shots to the chin that had the Brazilian backing up against the fence.
This led to a clinch and the same offense we saw in the first round. Maldonado landing shots to the body while Pokrajac looked for big knees. But this time Maldonado looked to take clear control with a stunning amount of punches landed. Igor took a ton of damage in the second round but somehow remained on his feet.
He even attempted a spinning back fist.
As the round came to a close, Pokrajac attempted a weak takedown and ended up on his back with Maldonado getting scored a takedown himself. But after two, it looked like it could very well be split heading into the final frame.
To open the third round, both men met in the center of the cage and hugged. What a sweet display of silliness in the middle of a cage fight.
They went back into the clinch shortly thereafter and before long were back up against the fence and working the same offense as the previous two rounds. Maldonado tried to get a break by claiming he was hit in the nuts but referee Dan Mirgaliotta called him out on it and the fight continued.
After more work from the clinch, they were separated and started throwing bombs. Pokrajac landed multiple clean shots to the chin that looked to stagger Maldonado but the big lug just would not go down.
They reset again and went back to slugging it out. Both guys were landing hard shots but Pokrajac looked to have landed more by the time the horn sounded, at least in the third round.
No matter the outcome, it was one hell of a scrap.
In the end, the judges sided with Pokrajac but the bonus awards should more than make up for the pain inflicted upon both men in this thriller of a showdown.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com has LIVE ongoing coverage of the UFC on FUEL TV 3 main card, as well as complete results from the undercard, right here.