Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight ground fighters Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia collided last night (July 29, 2017) at UFC 214 inside Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Just a few days before his year anniversary of winning the strap, Woodley was attempting to defend it for the third time. If “T-Wood” could come out on top once again, it would finally set him up for the high-profile Georges St-Pierre fight he had been working toward. On the other hand, Maia worked his way to this title shot the hard way. It took seven wins and a great deal of consistent, smart performances to earn this shot, and the Brazilian looked to make the most of it.
It took about 10 seconds for Maia to jam Woodley into the fence and shoot. He got in deep and nearly finished, but Woodley was able to scramble away and open up a cut on his opponent’s face. Woodley defended another couple takedown attempts in similar fashion, and the pace slowed a bit.
On the feet, neither man was all that active. Woodley attacked with the occasional big right hand, but they were largely blocked. Meanwhile, Maia didn’t throw much at all, but he did land a few decent left hands.
Woodley likely earned the round based on his early uppercut, but it was pretty uneventful in terms of offense for both fighters.
Woodley opened with some quick hands and a nice low kick. Maia returned with a nice left, but Woodley cracked him hard when Maia tried it again, sending the Brazilian to the mat. Woodley didn’t follow up, but he kept landing decent punches when Maia returned to his feet. Before long, though, his pace slowed, though he still defended takedowns and landed the occasional punch.
It was a far stronger round for the champion.
The third round was perhaps the closest of the round. Maia was still unable to land any takedowns, but he did score with a few nice left hands. Woodley was also able to land some fast shots, but he didn’t commit to many power punches. Woodley did land a hard low kick, but his volume was too low to really dominate the round.
Woodley’s habit of staying on the fence didn’t help either.
The fourth was similar to the third, but Maia was even more aggressive. Outside of a few slip-right hand returns, Woodley just didn’t throw anything. He did, however, make Maia miss quite a bit and stuff all his takedowns, but it was ultimately a close round because of his opponent’s inactivity.
Still, there was little chance of any Demian Maia scorecards heading into the final frame.
The only thing that happened in the first half of the fifth round were some defended takedowns from “T-Wood.” Maia attempted the high kick that Dominick Cruz and myself were begging for, but he was out of range. For whatever it’s worth, Maia landed a few straight lefts, while his opponent went to the body with decent accuracy.
The crowd chanted boring, and they were not wrong.
This was a miserable fight to watch, but it was a smart showing from Woodley. His takedown defense was ironclad, as Maia never even came remotely close to finishing a shot after his first attempt. On the feet, Woodley was quite miserly regarding his own offense, but there’s no doubt that Woodley did more damage on the feet.
Next up for Woodley is St-Pierre.
As for Maia, his ground game is about 99 percent of his offense, and he was never able to get that going. On the feet, Maia was too predictable with his left hand, which landed with reasonable consistency but also got Maia countered often.
Personally, I thought Maia’s strategy was disappointing. He burnt all of his energy shooting for obvious takedowns. If he had been a bit more patient in the stand up — and thrown more damn high kicks! — there was a real chance that he could pick up rounds as Woodley gave them away. Woodley can be shut down by pressure and takedown attempts, but Maia never really gave himself a chance to win the decision.
Last night at UFC 214, Tyron Woodley won a clear decision win, much to the dismay of the crowd. Will Woodley be able to defeat “GSP?”
For complete UFC 214;: “Jones vs Cormier 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!