Demian Maia reminded everyone how good he is on the ground especially when his opponents' entire gameplay is taking him down and put him onto his back.
He thought Ben Askren the hard way at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. Maia put the former Bellator and One welterweight champion to sleep with a rear naked choke at 3:54 of the third round.
The had been billed as a battle between the UFC’s best grapplers with both winning majority of their fights on the ground.
Demian Maia chokes out Ben Askren in third round
The bout was even on the judges' scorecards as both were going back and forth with some high-level grappling. Judges Howard Hughes and Barry Foley, 19-19, after two rounds. Judge Mark Collett had Maia, 20-18.
Maia was active on the ground fishing for submissions as Askren did his patented lay-and pray style. Askren had his moments but Maia knows how to deal with this types of situations.
Askren was on defense mode as he spent a lot of time trying to avoid submission attempts from Maia. The two-time Division I NCAA wrestling champion and 2008 U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestling team member made a mistake taking Maia down again. Maia immediately took Askren’s back and caught him with the choke as he tapped out his opponent.
The win was Maia’s 22nd win in the UFC, which puts him only behind Donald Cerrone for second all-time for submission wins in the UFC with 11. He also holds the record for most takedown attempts at 251 and sixth-most with 65 takedowns landed.
What's next for both fighters?
Maia has always competed at a high level since his rise among the ranks. He specifically called out Diego Sanchez after the fight. A match between the two will be an interesting scram fight fans would want to see.
With Maia still competitive and Askren losing the dominant run he once had in Asia, the UFC welterweight rankings are experiencing a shake-up.
Where would Demian Maia's finish of Ben Askren rank in his list of submission victories? Will Askren find form again? Tell us your thoughts.
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