In the battle between two of the most feared grapplers in the sport today, Demian Maia came out on top of former Bellator and ONE Championship titleholder Ben Askren when they collided in the main event of UFC Fight Night 162 on Saturday, October 26.
Maia turned in a masterful display of his renowned Jiu-Jitsu pedigree, sending Askren to sleep in front of a capacity crowd at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Knowing the fact that his American counterpart has a world-class wrestling to offset his own brand of grappling, Maia flashed his striking game for the first two rounds of the welterweight encounter.
Confused with Maia’s approach of making it an awkward kickboxing exchanges, Askren shot for a takedown that was quickly reversed by the 41-year-old Brazilian submission wizard.
Again in the third round, Askren attempted to change the complexion of the contest by scooping Maia to the mat.
However, staying on the top of Maia was vey brief for Askren as the Sao Paulo native swept him quickly with a heel hook attempt.
Maia secured a mount position, forcing Askren to give up his back. From there, he latched on a rear-naked choke. Askren tried to tap, but the referee did not see it, which inadvertently rendered him unconscious at 3:54 of round three.
With the impressive victory over Askren, Maia moved his record to 28-9. Moreover, the win is his third triumph in a row, putting the three-fight losing streak from 2017 to 2018 further in the rearview mirror.
On the other hand, Askren lost his second-straight bout in the UFC, falling to a 19-2 slate.
In the co-headliner of the evening, Stevie Ray (24-9) spoiled the lightweight return of Michael Johnson (19-16), prevailing over the American veteran by way of majority decision
The first round saw solid action transpire with both men having their moments. Ray punished his foe with crisp boxing combinations, while Johnson landed a couple of solid left hands and looked constantly for the clinch.
In the second frame, Ray changed his plan of attack as he pushed for takedowns in an attempt to bring the action to the ground. However, Johnson did not allow it as he compelled the Scottish fighter to stand and trade with him for the majority of the round.
Ray got the takedown that he wanted in the third and final round, where he was able to secure a sturdy top control to unload a series of ground-and-pound.
Determined to close out the stanza on a strong note, Ray utilized his superior grappling skills to ground Johnson and threaten him with submissions, getting the nod on two of the three judges scorecards with 29-28, 28-28 and 29-28.
Meanwhile, Beneil Dariush (18-4-1) sent the win streak-seeking Frank Camacho (22-9) back to the losing territory, submitting the Saipan native with a rear-naked choke in the very first round.
Demian Maia def. Ben Askren via Technical Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:54 of round three
Stevie Ray def. Michael Johnson via Majority Decision (29-28, 28-28, 29-28)
Beneil Dariush def. Frank Camacho via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 2:02 of round one
Ciryl Gane def. Don’Tale Mayes via Submission (Heel Hook) at 4:46 of round three
Muslim Salikhov def. Laureano Staropoli via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-28)
Randa Markos def. Ashley Yoder via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Rafael Fiziev def. Alex White via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Movsar Evloev def. Enrique Barzola via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Sergei Pavlovich def. Maurice Greene via TKO (Punches) at 2:11 of round one
Loma Lookboonme def. Aleksandra Albu via Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Raphael Pessoa def. Jeff Hughes via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)