Two of the UFC's most accurate and violent sluggers gave it all they had last night (May 15, 2012) in their bout on the UFC on Fuel TV 3 main card in Fairfax, Virginia.
Igor Pokrajac mixed it up, throwing everything with power while occasionally working in takedown attempts while Brazilian Fabio Maldonado attacked with his crisp technical boxing, throwing with a high volume both to the head and to the body.
The bout featured huge flurries of strikes from both me, massive power strikes and some of the largest output of pure volume strikes as you can imagine in a light heavyweight match.
Both men had their moments, so how did Pokrajac walk away with a unanimous decision victory? And more importantly, where do both men go from here?
Follow me after the jump for our Igor Pokrajac vs Fabio Maldonado UFC on Fuel TV 3 post-fight review and analysis:
Right off the bat, Pokrajac ducked under a huge hook from Maldonado and used it to easily take the Brazilian down. Neither men is that great on the canvas, but the Croation utilized surprise and perfect timing to take the ex-boxer to the canvas and keep him there for nearly three minutes.
Pokrajac threatened to pin Maldonado's arm down from half guard and tried to do as much damage as possible, but the second Maldonado got to his feet, he beat the tar out of him on the feet in the final two minutes, outlanding him in every way possible and scoring with big flurries of strikes to both the head and body. It was an absolute nightmare of a round to score as both men completely dominated portions of the first round in difference areas.
The second round was contested primarily on the feet, but this is exactly what Maldonado wanted. He was able to score repeatedly whenever the fight entered the clinch, throwing some terrific dirty boxing attacks both with short strikes to the head and to the body.
His problem was positioning. He found himself with his back against the fence on multiple occasions and repeatedly was put in the Thai clinch, eating a knee to the face just so he could unload with punches to the body.
No one works the body better than Fabio Maldonado, but his defense was definitely lacking last night. As the fight continued, Pokrajac gained more confidence on his feet and threw some heavy leather in the stand-up, landing big power shots with both his left and right hand on multiple occasions.
Maldonado would continuously throw high volume of shorter and crisper strikes, but Pokrajac did a terrific job of mixing up his attack, occasionally threatening to take him down, throw kicks and knees and then go up top with the big power left and right hooks.
In the end, Pokrajac's superior positioning and ability to land big power shots with both his punches and knees would earn him a unanimous decision, even a perplexing 30-27 on one judges' scorecard.
For Fabio Maldonado, this was a terrific performance, but he came up short with the judges once again. He has some of the best technical boxing in the UFC's light heavyweight division, but perhaps his lack of defense and ignorance of positioning was what really hurts him in fights. He can slug with the best of them, but he repeatedly finds himself with his back to the fence and potentially on his back. Lastly, it wouldn't hurt him to start mixing in elbows, knees and kicks every once in a while. Yes, his boxing attack is terrific, but he's limiting his offensive weapons and he could be even more violent if he really wanted to be.
He'll definitely be sticking around as his last two losses were hotly contested and rather controversial. I'd like to see him step in against someone like Vladimir Matyushenko, Nick Penner or perhaps Aaron Rosa in his next fight.
For Igor Pokrajac, he did a terrific job of mixing up his attack and constantly threatening with his full arsenal of options. His grappling likely won him the first round on several judges' cards and then it was his striking and cage awareness which may have won him the day in the final two rounds. He also proved he can take a shot, as he absorbed a heavy amount of blows both to the head and body in this fight and made sure to give as good as he got. I felt he actually got better in striking as the fight wore on, gaining confidence as Maldonado's defense was sorely lacking at times and he was able to fire back whenever the Brazilian started to gain any momentum.
Pokrajac is on a bit of a roll right now in the light heavyweight division. Potential future opponents could be the Anthony Perosh vs. Ryan Jimmo winner, potentially a rematch against Stephan Bonnar or maybe even the winner of James Te Huna (another rematch) vs. Brandon Vera.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you impressed with both light heavyweights last night? What did you think of the one judge scoring the fight 30-27 for Pokrajac? Did Maldonado get hosed or did they get it right?