In the next fight we have Joey Beltran vs Fabio Maldonado in what should be an interesting scrap. Beltran is coming off a suspension from a failed drug test and most definitely needs a good performance to get back in the good graces of the UFC brass. After a three fight losing streak, including a bludgeoning from Glover Teixeira, Maldonado got back in the win column with a decision victory over Roger Hollett. Expect a slugfest with the brawler in Beltran and the precise striker in Maldonado.
Round 1- Beltran light on his feet to start the fight and eats two jabs. Maldonado is really snapping off his jab. Beltran pushed him up on the cage with a single. Beltran is throwing some punches in the clinch and one goes low. Mario Yamasaki stops the fight and warns Beltran that he will deduct a point if it happens again. The fight restarts and a nice body punch by Maldonado and a few jabs. Beltran with a nice left hand pushing Maldonado on the fence. Beltran with some nice uppercuts and a knee. Beltran pushing him up against the fence and throwing some very hard uppercuts and body shots. Front head lock by Beltran leads to another nice body shot. Maldonado can not get off the fence. Body shot by Maldonado. Beltran with some heavy hooks, but Maldonado keeps eating them. Maldonado drops down for a guillotine and Beltran gets up and makes him pay with some more heavy shots and the round ends. Beltran 10-9 on my card for more effective striking and control.
Round 2- Right hook lands for Maldonado to start the round. Beltran again pushing the pace, but Maldonado is circling and throwing a stinging jab. Beltran is just throwing bombs that are missing. Nice body shot by Beltran. They clinch and Maldonado with two ripping body shots. Now Maldonado has Beltran on the fence. Beltran turns him with ease and were back in the same position from round 1. Maldonado with a huge uppercut that stuns Beltran, but for some reason walks back to the fence asking Beltran to come in. Beltran with two very nice elbows and some nice dirty boxing. Mario Yamasaki calls timeout for Maldonado to get a mouthpiece. Restart and another jab for Maldonado. Maldonado is getting the better of the exchanges now, but Beltran is still game. A very weak takedown attempt is easily stuffed by Maldonado, and they clinch up. Maldonado is stringing some nice jabs, uppercuts, and hooks into combos. Maldonado is picking him apart and a great flurry to end the round. 10-9 Maldonado for the more effective striking.
Round 3- Maldonado’s jab is absolutely perfect. He is picking Beltran apart. Beltran lands a haymaker, but Maldonado eats it. Clinched again and another body shot from Maldonado. Beltran is trying to take him down, but can not. Back to the cage again, and a lot of pummeling is going on. Beltran locks hands, but still can not take him down. Yamasaki breaks them up to restart due to inactivity. Maldonado baiting Beltran in, and Beltran answers with a big right hand. Maldonado’s chin is just incredible. Back on the fence again, and brutal body shots from both men. Maldonado with a low blow and Yamasaki stops the fight again. This fight is close. Beltran pushes Maldonado against the fence and gets him down! Maldonado is bleeding a lot. Beltran throwing some knees and controlling him before the bell sounds. Pretty good fight, I say that round goes to Beltran giving him the 29-28 victory.
Official Decision: Fabio Maldonado wins via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)