Middleweight-turned-welterweight contender Demian Maia will take on the resurgent Jon Fitch at UFC 156 in an intriguing 170-pound showdown.
A win will do big things for either fighter's current title push—maybe even enough to earn a shot at UFC gold sometime this summer. That may take a Johny Hendricks loss, but at worst, the victor of Saturday night's battle will likely find himself no more than one more fight from a title shot.
Check back right here as the action breaks for live round-by-round recap and analysis of this meaningful welterweight clash.
The combatants touch gloves in the center of the Octagon, and the action is underway.
Maia dives in for an immediate takedown but settles to keep Fitch against the fence. His persistence pays off, and he gets him down and then takes the back.
Fitch is back up with Maia clinging to his back. Maia is methodically working for a standing choke, softening up Fitch with punches as Fitch throws some elbows to Maia's thighs.
The American continues wearing Maia like a backpack, but the Brazilian eventually lets go. Maia quickly gets him down again, still holding on from the back. Now he's landing knees to Fitch's thighs.
Maia is looking for the choke again, but Fitch continues his staunch defense. He's got him on the mat with a body triangle locked in, but Fitch is still fighting hard to get back to his feet.
Time expires, and Fitch finally gets Maia off his back.
Score: 10-9 Maia
Maia takes the center of the Octagon but eats a couple of leg-kicks. A big left from Maia that's countered by a right from Fitch.
Maia lands another double-leg and looks to pass. Fitch pushes him off, and it's back to the feet. Now tied up against the fence, Maia drags his opponent to the mat.
The Brazilian has the back again and gets his hooks in. He's once again looking for the choke, but Fitch looks calm in his defense. The hand-fighting continues as Maia bates for an armbar. Fitch seems to notice and turns into it, but Maia quickly transitions to a rear-naked choke.
Fitch defends, and Maia releases but looks to regain the position. Fitch attempts to turn into Maia guard, but Maia's body-triangle is tight.
Looking for the choke again, Maia roles Fitch onto his side. Now he's looking to open things up with punches, but he lets up as Fitch tries to spin into his guard.
The round ends with Maia looking for the choke again.
Score: 10-9 Maia
Fitch's corner tells him he has to look for the finish.
The fighters touch gloves again, and a wild kick from Fitch turns into a takedown attempt from Maia. Fitch defends, but the persistent Maia continues to work to get his foe to the mat. Against the fence now, Maia gets Fitch's back yet again and drags him down.
Maia puts the hooks in, but Fitch gets one out. Maia repositions, but Fitch is able to shake him off and stand up. Maia is looking to get him down again though, and Fitch is fighting to stop it.
Fitch is now looking for a guillotine, but Maia fends it off. Fitch is on top though and looks to work some ground-and-pound. Maia eats a shot but is able to get back up. He clutches Fitch against the fence and resumes his mission of scoring takedown after takedown after takedown.
Fitch eventually separates, but he looks exhausted. Maia shoots, scores yet another takedown and takes Fitch's back again.
Maia is working punches on the mat, but nothing much is landing. The round concludes just as Maia rolls into the mount.
An absolutely dominant performance by Maia.
Score: 10-9 Maia
Official Decision: Demian Maia defeats Jon Fitch via unanimous decision: 30-27, 30-27 and 30-27