Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight grappling sensations Demian Maia and Gunnar Nelson battled last night (Dec. 12, 2015) at UFC 194 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Maia has consistently proven himself to be one of the very best Welterweights in the world. At this point, he was hoping for one last title run, and he needed to defeat "Gunni" for that to become reality.
On the other hand, Nelson has looked very dangerous on the whole, but he came up quite short in his first real step up against Rick Story. Nelson was hoping to move past that loss and into the top 10 with a victory here.
Instead, he ran into a hard wall.
Maia wasted little time in attacking with a double leg takedown, but Nelson defended very well. After some extended chain wrestling, Nelson landed in top position. However, Maia quickly scrambled into another takedown attempt, and this time was successful in taking his opponent's back.
Nelson tried to roll and escape, but Maia took mount and began hammering away at his opponent. Despite Nelson's excellent attempts to escape, Maia held on and continued to work ground strikes from both the mount and back mount. At the very end of the round, Maia attempted an armbar, but Nelson reversed position.
It took him a couple minutes, but Maia employed his usual dominating grappling in the first round.
Maia landed a stiff left hand before shooting in on another single leg takedown. it took about a minute of work -- and Nelson grabbed the fence at least three times during his defense -- but Maia nonetheless took his opponent's back once again.
Despite working out of the standing back mount, Maia cracked his opponent with some hard punches and elbows, breaking him down to the mat. Nelson landed a slick escape to come up into Maia's guard, but Maia landed another sweep just moments later. Maia's jiu-jitsu from top position was gorgeous, as he picked his shots to land powerful elbows all while executing complex guard passes into the mount.
Nelson needed a finish in the third, as he was far, far behind.
Once more, Maia threw a few punches before completing his takedown, which came easier than any of his previous shots. From the top, it was more of the same, as Maia dropped hard elbows and advanced through his opponent's guard like it was nothing.
Watching this fight, it would be easy to forget that Nelson is an excellent black belt with success in high-level competition. However, Maia is just that good, and he has a history of making excellent fighters look awful.
This was a complete domination by Demian Maia. In fact, it was his fourth in a row. Maia simply has a very unique style of grappling, and it's incredibly tough to deal with, even for other seasoned grapplers.
The scores reflected the domination, as Maia was awarded a 30-26, 30-25, 30-25 scorecard.
Simply put, Maia may be the best wrestler in the division. That's a strange description of a jiu-jitsu master, but it's true. Maia's takedowns are incredible difficult to stop, and once he's on top, his opponent's have no hope of escaping his suffocation pressure.
Now on a four fight win streak, Maia deserves either a title shot or a number one contender's match up. Frankly, I don't think Woodley deserves the shot as much as Maia. Besides, Maia is 38 years old, and he requested a shot at the title.
Give it to him.
This should be a wake up call for Nelson. He should be entering his prime, and he called out Maia, believing he would be a good style match up for him. Instead, Nelson was positionally dominated and ate over a hundred ground strikes, landing very few effective shots of his own.
Nelson has two options, as his biggest issue is being a small Welterweight. He can head down to Lightweight, but he's against the idea. Alternatively, Nelson needs to find a proper strength coach and really build some muscle, as skill can only take him so far.
Although, frankly, he was out-skilled in this fight also, but Maia is unique in that realm.
Last night, Demian Maia completely dominated his opponent with his fantastic jiu-jitsu. Can the Brazilian earn a title shot?
For complete UFC 194: "Aldo vs McGregor" results and play-by-play, click HERE!