Fitch has spent years building a reputation as a fighter who can control his opponents positionally and dominate them with his wrestling, ground and pound and top control. Fans had even referred to his performances of completely dominating a fight with effective grappling and punches as a "Fitching."
But in an ironic twist of fate, it was Fitch who got "Fitched" last night by Maia.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion made no bones about his gameplan, immediately closing the distance and shooting in for a takedown against Fitch, pressing him into the fence and dragging him to the canvas. When Fitch attempted to turtle and escape to his feet, Maia pounced on him, latching on tightly like Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back and staying on his back with a body triangle for the remainder of the round.
Fitch was in serious trouble, but wisely used the "two on one" strategy, making sure that Maia never was able lock his arms together and sink in a rear naked choke.
The fight would continue in the exact same fashion for the next two rounds, with Maia shooting in for a takedown at the beginning of each round and smothering the American Kickboxing Academy standout for the duration of the bout with nasty back control. Maia attempted to soften Fitch up with punches from behind, but could never create the opening he needed to secure the finish and was content to ride out 15 minutes of domination from the back.
When it was all said and done, Maia was awarded a unanimous decision victory with a clean sweep of 30-27 from all three judges cageside.
For Jon Fitch, it seemed like he had no clue that Maia was going to be shooting in and trying to outgrapple him in this fight. Even if he did, he had no answer for Maia's aggressive pursuit of the takedown and his constant attacking, guard passing and ability to secure a dominant position within an instant. Fitch had dealt with a similar situation in the first round of his fight against B.J. Penn, except Maia was able to keep it up for 15 minutes and also was even more aggressive and dominant with his control. He only had about 30 seconds in this fight where he was winning, after taking position following a guillotine choke attempt, and even that didn't last for very long as Maia quickly returned to his back. Fitch might not have been able to do anything even if he knew exactly what Maia wanted to do, the Brazilian was just the better fighter last night, hands down.