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When there's a-doin's a-transpirin' in a close fight, it's the first place we're heading on our second screens. At a glance, you can see who landed more strikes, more significant strikes, who went for more subs, whose takedowns were on point.
Let's take a look.
Demian Maia: 24 of 75 (32%) significant, 98 of 160 total
Jake Shields: 35 of 112 (31%) significant, 97 of 188 total
As is reflected in the numbers, even when he lost rounds Shields was more active with his striking. He was almost constant in his shots from guard and half-guard early on, and continually touched Maia with light strikes from all positions throughout the night. He probably pulled away in the fifth as a result of his striking on the feet as well.
Maia, on the other hand, was grossly less active as a result of spending much of the night against the cage or on his back. When he won rounds, he did it through positional dominance and aggression, not strikes.
In the end that wasn't enough.
Demian Maia: 3 of 7 (43%)
Jake Shields: 1 of 12 (8%)
Interestingly, it was Maia who had more success in the takedown department, something many would have said was an advantage for Shields coming in given his background in wrestling. His unorthodox trips and throws, as they often have against wrestlers, proved fairly successful when he could get in range to use them.
The takedown success coupled with the number of times he managed to keep Shields at bay in his own right seemed like it might have been enough to steal the win, but the judges ignored the stats and went against the hometown hero.
Demian Maia: 0/0 submission attempts, 1 guard pass, 0 reversals
Jake Shields: 0/0 submission attempts, 5 guard passes, 1 reversal
The area that the MMA world was most looking forward to when this fight was announced definitely didn't disappoint, as the two traded positions and created scrambles for much of the night.
At the end of the day it was Shields with his more aggressive approach and constant thrust to pass guard that seized the day. He even threw in a crazy reversal that allowed him to escape Maia having his back in the third round, which looked like it badly troubled the BJJ ace.
If Maia won the takedown battle and Shields won the striking, it was the grappling stats that decided the fight. The decision might be controversial to some, but it's definitely supported by FightMetric.
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