The light heavyweight fought a tough three-round decision and ended up getting the judges nod, 29-28 across the board.
The fight started off with Kingsbury utilizing a lot of low and mid kicks then showed an impressive Thai clinch, landing some knees while there. Maldonado took some punishment on the feet before being taken down and nearly securing a guillotine. The fight returned to the feet and Maldonado turned it on a bit more, tagging Kingsbury with effective punches. After a brief time on the ground, the two came back to the feet where Kingsbury used another Thai clinch to land some knees towards the end of the opening round.
The second round had Kingsbury getting an early takedown, but got reversed and the fight returned to the feet. Kingsbury still looked to use his Thai clinch, but looked a lot more gassed halfway through the round. Maldonado looked a little more tired too and Kingsbury scored another takedown at around the three-minute mark. Back on the feet, Kingsbury tried to set up his Thai clinch some more, but Maldonado did a good job of working the body as his opponent was trying to lock it up. The round ended with Maldonado throwing a left hook to Kingsbury’s chin.
The final round had both fighters trade strikes on the feet. Maldonado taunted his opponent, telling him to hit him in the chin and signaled that he can take it. Kingsbury looked very tired in the final round and Maldonado was careful to pick his strikes. Kingsbury’s left eye was swollen and it seemed like he had trouble seeing punches coming. The fight went to the ground and Maldonado ended up in his opponent’s rubber guard before the ref stood them up due to there being no action. The round ended with Maldonado getting a take down just before the final horn.
“I’m very happy I came away with the win,” Kingsbury said after the win. “But I tell you what, I’ve never been in a harder fight in my life.”
The win for Kingsbury was his fourth in a row and improves his record to 11-2-1. Maldonado loses his first fight in his last 12 outings and first since 2008.