Both Demian Maia and Jorge Masvidal epitomize the term “salty veteran” – they’ve been around forever, done it all, fought the best, and remain dangerous as hell. But title shots nowadays are doled out to only the trash-talkers and retired stars, so Maia and Masvidal have been stuck in purgatory, wondering what the future can possibly hold for guys who can beat anybody but move the needle not at all.

Well, UFC 211 pit these badasses against each other, and now we have a title contender.

As expected, the most dangerous jiu-jitsu practitioner in the UFC was all over Masvidal like a monkey, taking his back in all three rounds and threatening with the same rear naked choke that has put away so many others. But getting to that dominant position wasn’t easy for the Brazilian. Each round began with Masvidal employing that deadly Muay Thai he’s known for, with his kicks to Maia’s lead leg threatening to take the jiu-jitsu stud’s knee out like a deflating soccer ball. Masvidal’s sprawl was also on point, and his defense against the choke was impeccable.

Ultimately, time expired and the judges were left with a tough one, as offense was split right down the middle.

Maia got the split decision nod, though, and when he approached Dana White – who was sitting on the other side of the cage – White could be heard saying “You got it.” For the win, Maia had earned a shot at the belt.


Results: Demian Maia def. Jorge Masvidal via Split Decision