Demian Maia has given Ryan LaFlare his first L…
The 37-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner took down unbeaten welterweight Ryan LaFlare in the main event of UFC Fight Night 62 at the Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro.
Maia, a former UFC title challenger, was a technical force on the ground throughout, as he neutralized LaFlare’s standup for nearly five full rounds en route to his victory by unanimous decision.
Maia (20-6) was nothing short of dominant throughout the welterweight duel between southpaw welterweights. The native of Sao Paulo was victorious by judges’ scores of 48-46 on all three cards, made closer by a point deduction against Maia in the closing seconds of Round 5 for intentionally flopping to the canvas after multiple warnings.
“I was out for three months without training and had a serious infection, and I had a very tough camp,” Maia said through a translator. “I fought a guy who was undefeated up to now and a very tough fighter.”
LaFlare (11-1), of Farmingdale, New York, saw his standup and offensive game completely silenced through the first four rounds. Each time the pattern was the same: Maia circled away from strikes for the first half of the round before securing a takedown midway through and never relinquished top or side position until the round ended.
Maia never rushed or took many risks, even when he had LaFlare caught in the most compromising of situations. His patience allowed him to systematically suck the energy and ambition out of his opponent, just as much as it did the bout’s potential for action and excitement.
“I underestimated how powerful he would be on top, and more power to him,” LaFlare said. “He taught me a valuable lesson today.”
Making his 20th appearance in the UFC, Maia secured full mount in each of the first three rounds before he landed a series of short punches. Yet LaFlare, 31, never quit working from underneath and was able to constantly avoid danger.
The price he paid by doing so was fatigue, and the slow decimation of his confidence nearly caught up with him late in Round 4. After softening LaFlare up with a pair of short elbows, Maia secured an arm triangle with 1:15 to go in the round and patiently worked to lock it in deeper, until running out of time as the round ended.