Damien Maia and Jake Shields fought back-and-forth in a chess match of a main event at UFC Fight Night 29 in Ginásio José Corrêa in Barueri, Brazil — an event which saw Shields win a split decision.
From start to finish, the two fought in the clinch, exchanging takedowns, reversals, and escapes — and landing the occasional strike besides.
The first round saw São Paulo, Brazil native Maia hit the first takedown — and the crowd chanted “jiu-jitsu!” in appreciation. Shields, of San Francisco, escaped — only to get taken down again. Still, Shields escaped again, and got a takedown of his own, where he landed the best strikes of the round at the end of the stanza. Like many rounds, it was a tough one to score.
Maia was on his back for much of the second, where Shields dominated the mat work in a slow pace — landing “pitter-patter” punches and a few hard elbows.
The third and fourth went back and forth with takedowns and groundwork. The crowd voiced their displeasure when the fight was “stood-up” with Maia on top in the fourth. The Brazilian’s one-two combinations may have won him that round anyway, but it was close.
The bout ended with the two exchanging takedowns, and Maia hitting a few meaningful punches. The outcome was in doubt, but Shields’ slightly greater time in top control seemed to make the difference to the judges.
The scores were predictably close: 48-47 for Shields, 48-47 for Maia, and 48-47 for Shields.
Jake Shields defeats Damien Maia by Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) at UFC Fight Night 29.