Ten Best – The Submissions of 2019

UFC News


It was a showdown between Top 15 welterweight grapplers in Saturday’s main event as Askren returned from his first professional loss to take on Maia, the two-time title challenger with the second most wins in UFC history.

Everyone expected a grappling battle, but Maia got things started with some heavy left hands in space, avoiding Askren’s initial entries and keeping the fight standing.  Each time Askren ducked in, looking to close the distance, Maia shrugged him off and got the better of the exchanges as they locked u in close.

With two minutes remaining in the round, Maia appeared to wobble Askren momentarily, connecting with a left hand to the temple, following it up with a kick to the body. It wasn’t until the final minute of the round that the fighter hit the canvas, with Askren taking Maia down, but immediately being forced to defend and scramble as the Brazilian went hunting for submissions and space to get back to his feet.

Bolstered by his success late in the first, Askren pressed forward to start the second, searching for the clinch and a means of getting Maia to the ground. Instead, they continued throwing hands, with Askren peppering Maia and opening up a cut on his left cheek. Askren continued to win the striking exchanges, piling up the output as he tried to close the distance, with Maia landing occasional counters.

Once again, Askren worked his way inside and secured a takedown late in the frame, but this time, Maia quickly hit a lovely omoplata sweep to work into top position and climb into mount. From there, Askren powered out, creating a scramble where Maia hunted for a kimura and the Olympic wrestler searched for dominant position as the horn sounded.

Maia allowed Askren to close the distance out of the gate to start the third, but worked his way back to the center, only to get taken down with force, though Askren couldn’t keep him there. As the pace slowed and both men clearly started to tire, Maia began pulling away in the striking department, throwing greater volume and landing the more significant shots, only to have Askren once again drag him to the floor.

But just as he did in the second, Maia quickly reversed the position, climbing to mount and taking Askren’s back as the Wisconsin native went belly-down. After locking up a body triangle, Maia fished his arm under the neck and put Askren to sleep, getting a single tap from the standout wrestler before he went out.

What an incredible way to end the year for Maia, who entered 2019 on a two-fight skid, but will head into 2020 on a three-fight winning streak.

(By E. Spencer Kyte)

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