Brazilian fighter Fabio Maldonado had a three-fight winning streak disrupted earlier this year in May, but in true Maldonado comeback style, he righted the ship on his home turf at UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro.
Hans Stringer, who hadn’t lost in four years, started strong, taking Maldonado out of his element in the stand-up striking world and planted him on the mat early in the first frame. He applied a methodical ground and pound strategy, but was unable to mount any significant damage.
Stringer again took Maldonado down early in the second round, but this time the Brazilian regained his footing and reversed the position, putting Stringer on his back.
While he may have been less that stellar in the opening round, Maldonado took full advantage of his top position on the mat, raining down punches from inside Stringer’s guard. He alternated body and head in a traditional ground and pound attack, but eventually amped up the amount of blows until the referee had no choice but to call a halt to the fight.
Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva was sitting cageside, but when the fight was stopped, he jumped the cage and embraced Maldonado, congratulating him on his victory.
Ecstatic at being back on the right side of the tracks, Maldonado later said, “I’m never losing in this Octagon again.”
That might be a difficult statement to live up to, but Maldonado has definitely proven to be resilient, both in victory and defeat. He moved his record to 22-7 on Saturday night.
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