Styles make fights, and sometimes conflicting styles make fights that the fans didn’t enjoy. That’s largely what happened at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. between Woodley and Maia.
Maia, a jiu-jitsu specialist, immediately tried to get the fight to the ground immediately. He tried over and over with no success. More than 20 times Woodley defended takedown attempts by Maia.
The biggest moment of the fight came in the second round when Woodley landed a counter right hand that dropped the Brazilian. Outside of that, the fight was Maia trying to get Woodley to the canvas and Woodle not letting him. After 25 minutes of fighting, Woodley retained his belt by unanimous decision.
“He cut off the ring very well. I knew he was going for the takedown. Obviously, if I throw hooking shows, which I did a couple of times, he can get underneath. So I had to be patient. He’s a long guy, a little bit stronger than I expected,” said Woodley after the win. “I’m the best in the world.”
According to UFC commentator Joe Rogan, the fight set the record for the least amount of strikes thrown in a five-round fight. The crowd voiced their displeasure via boos several times throughout the fight.
“It doesn’t bother me at all because if you go in there against a jiu-jitsu specialist — How many guys has he went in there and taken down, got on there back and submitted them because they were overzealous,” said Woodley. “This doesn’t bother me at all. I went out there; I had a phenomenal fight. I can go another couple of rounds right now if I had to. I’m just excited to fight a freestyle fighter and someone that I can use all my skills against instead of just defending what they’re doing and trying to implement some strong tactics.”
With the Maia fight behind him, Woodley turned his attention to former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. St-Pierre is expected to face Woodley later this year.
“I’ve fought two specialists back-to-back, so I’m excited to fight a freestyle fighter and take on Georges St-Pierre on November 4th in Madison Square Garden,” he said.