Round 1: Maldonado gets his jab going early, while Beltran is swinging for the fences. Beltran moves in for a takedown, but Maldonado defends along the fence. The referee steps in after Beltran lands a couple low punches, and warns that next time he will take a point away. They restart, Beltran trying to get his own jab going, but Maldonado beating him to the punch. Beltran forces his way inside, landing several punches that rock Maldonado a bit. Beltran presses Maldonado into the fence, lands some good short uppercuts, but Maldonado answers with a solid body blow. Beltran, however, is keeping his weight on Maldonado and landing some short punches and knees while he does so. Maldonado lands a few short body shots, but Beltran is mixing his techniques up well landing elbows, punches and knees, all the while pressing Maldonado into the fence. Beltran tries to wrap Maldonado’s legs for a takedown, but gets caught briefly in a guillotine attempt. He quickly releases it and they return to their feet, Maldonado calling for Beltran to come at him as the horn sounds to end the round. MMAWeekly.com scores round one 10-9 for Beltran.
Round 2: Beltran going back to his jab to start round two, but eats a straight right from Maldonado. Maldonado goes back to employing his jab, lading it with frequency. Beltran is coming forward, swing wide and heavy, but getting picked apart by Maldonado’s jab. They clinch up, Maldonado doing some good body work with his punches. Maldonado comes off the fence, landing some heavy shots, and then goes back to the fence, urging Beltran to come in and fight him along the cage. Beltran does, presses Maldonado onto the cage, and lands some hard knees and elbows. They’re clinched on the fence, Maldonado’s mouthpiece comes shooting out and the ref stops the action for him to retrieve it. They start up at the center of the cage, Beltran chasing Maldonado down with punches, but eating lots of jabs in doing so. Maldonado keeps the jab going, and mixes in some combinations. They get close, Maldonado really edging ahead with the frequency and quantity of his punches, the jab now in full effect. They trade blows to the horn. MMAWeekly.com scores round two 10-9 for Maldonado.
Round 3: They both immediately go to the jab, Maldonado again looking to be the more effective puncher. Beltran is starting to drop his hands and Maldonado is taking advantage. Beltran is trying to find a takedown, but eats some big right hands from Maldonado, who fends off the attempts. Beltran keeps fighting for the takedown, but Maldonado is doing a good job maintaining his balance and making Beltran work. The referee finally sees enough of the stalemate and restarts them in the center. Maldonado goes right back to the jab, throwing it high and to the body. Beltran is landing infrequently, but Maldonado keeps the jab in his face. Beltran presses Maldonado to the fence and lands some short uppercuts, but Maldonado fires back with short shots to the body, and one errant shot that lands south of the border, briefly halting the fight. They restart, Maldonado going back to the jab, but Beltran moves forward, secures a front facelock and drags Maldonado to the mat. Maldonado is on his knees, while Beltran is standing and driving knees into his ribs. They return to their feet, both men battered and bloody. MMAWeekly.com scores round three 10-9 and the fight 29-28 for Maldonado.
Fabio Maldonado def. Joey Beltran by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
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