Demian Maia outpointed Jorge Santiago to headline the UFC 136
prelims. | File Photo: Sherdog.com
Former middleweight title contender Demian Maia
leaned on takedowns and positional control, as he took a pedestrian
but no less significant unanimous decision from Jorge
Santiago at UFC
136 “Edgar vs. Maynard 3” on Saturday at the Toyota Center in
Maia (15-3, 8-3 UFC) swept the scorecards by identical 30-27
Maia abandoned his standup game early in the first round, as the
2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships
gold medalist scored with the first of his numerous takedowns and
attacked with effective but non-threatening ground-and-pound. The
scene repeated itself throughout the 15-minute encounter, as
Santiago (23-10, 1-4 UFC) could not get his offense going and had
trouble staying upright. The 30-year-old former Sengoku Raiden
Championship titleholder has now lost back-to-back bouts for the
first time since 2006.
WEC lightweight champion Anthony
Pettis recorded his first Octagon victory and showed a
different side of his game in doing so, as he controlled Jeremy
Stephens with takedowns en route to a split verdict on the
scorecards. All three judges scored it 29-28, two of them in favor
of Pettis (14-2, 1-1 UFC).
Pettis secured six takedowns in the fight, four of them in the
second round alone, perhaps catching the standup-minded Stephens
off guard. He bloodied the 25-year-old’s nose and mouth with
punches from the top, seizing back control with a body triangle in
the second round. Pettis hunted for the rear-naked choke but never
had Stephens in legitimate danger.
Stephens (20-7, 7-6 UFC) struck for a takedown of his own half a
minute into round three, only to be threatened by a Pettis triangle
choke from the bottom. “Showtime” used the maneuver to return to
his feet and later struck for two more takedowns on Stephens, who
had surprising difficulty staying on his feet.
Undefeated North American Allied Fight Series heavyweight champion
Miocic utilized single-leg takedowns and follow-up
ground-and-pound in earning a unanimous decision over Joey
Beltran in his promotional debut. All three judges scored it
for Miocic (7-0, 1-0 UFC): 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28.
Neither man pursued victory with much fervor. Beltran (13-6, 3-3
UFC), however, showed the wear and tear of Miocic’s heavy top game,
as he bled heavily from the nose and from a cut below his eye.
After softening Beltran with a series of knees to the body, Miocic
moved to full mount in the third round and put the exclamation
point on the victory.
Elkins File Photo
Elkins took every round from Zhang.
Elkins survived three encounters with the potent Tiequan
Zhang guillotine choke and never flinched, as he outwrestled,
outhustled and out-grappled the Chinese import on his way to a
unanimous decision in their preliminary featherweight duel. The
judges ruled unanimously in Elkins’ favor: 30-27, 30-27 and
Elkins (13-2, 3-1 UFC) moved for takedowns in all three rounds,
found himself locked to varying degrees inside the Zhang guillotine
and freed himself each time. Once loose, he dropped punches, passed
guard and twice mounted the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt. Elkins
threatened to finish it with rear-naked chokes in the first and
third rounds, and though he was unsuccessful, he racked up
considerable damage on Zhang (15-2, 1-1 UFC) and on the
Simpson spent the better part of 15 minutes putting his
powerful hands on an overmatched Eric
Schafer, as the two-time NCAA All-American wrestler captured a
one-sided unanimous decision in a preliminary middleweight
showdown. All three judges gave Simpson (11-2, 6-2 UFC) the nod by
matching 30-27 counts.
Simpson landed liberally with both hands and sent Schafer to the
floor in each of the first two rounds, opening a cut under the
Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt’s left eye. Each time, he welcomed
him back to his feet for more punishment, wisely unwilling to meet
Schafer (12-6-2, 3-5 UFC) on his terms. From there, the beating
persisted, as Simpson cruised to his third win in as many
Massenzio overwhelmed former WEC light heavyweight champion
Cantwell with offensive pressure, occasional takedowns and a
steady stream of strikes en route to a unanimous decision in a
preliminary matchup at 185 pounds. All three judges scored it for
Massenzio (13-5, 2-3 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Round one went well for Cantwell (7-5, 1-4 UFC), as he fired off
combinations, buckled his opponent with a right hook and stuffed
Massenzio’s advances to put the fight on the ground. However, his
conditioning failed him as the fight deepened. In the second round,
Massenzio delivered a takedown, unleashed his ground-and-pound and
bloodied Cantwell with crisp combinations on the feet. His left
hook landed with shocking regularity.
Massenzio was the aggressor in round three, as well, as he bullied
Cantwell into the cage, scored with another takedown and sapped
what strength his foe had left. Again, his left hook tagged
Cantwell repeatedly, his frustration growing with each second. By
the time it was done, Cantwell knew he had fallen short yet again.
The 24-year-old Long Beach, Calif., native has lost four
consecutive fights, all by decision.