Demian Maia can no longer be ignored. The 38-year-old Brazilian secured what might have been the most impressive win of his career at UFC on Fox 21 in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Saturday, when he submitted Carlos Condit via rear-naked choke in the first round.
It was Maia's sixth straight win, and it should make him next in line for a shot at the UFC welterweight title after Tyron Woodley faces Stephen Thompson.
Condit is known for his all-around game, but Maia may be the greatest Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist we've ever seen. Maia is primarily a one-dimensional fighter, but that single skill is so advanced that he's able to overpower his opponents en route to victories.
His style isn't the most crowd-pleasing, but he may be the toughest draw in the 170-pound division. Maia told Brian Stann during his post-fight interview he would wait for the winner of the Woodley-Thompson battle.
Whoever emerges as the champ best beware.
Showtime Is Back
Anthony Pettis made a smashing debut in the featherweight division. Riding a three-fight losing streak, Pettis looked like a new man at 145 pounds as he submitted Charles Oliveira. Fox Sports: UFC shared the replay:
Pettis was aggressive and did damage in stand-up exchanges with punches and kicks to the midsection. Oliveira looked to have issues with Pettis' speed early, but he came on a bit in the second round.
Pettis punched himself out as Oliveira seized the momentum. In the third round, Pettis got a second wind. After escaping a choke and omoplata attempt, he transitioned to a guillotine.
That choke secured the victory for Pettis in a well-rounded performance.
- Demian Maia def. Carlos Condit via first-round submission (rear-naked choke).
- Anthony Pettis def. Charles Oliveira via third-round submission (guillotine).
- Paige VanZant def. Bec Rawlings via second-round KO.
- Jim Miller def. Joe Lauzon via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).
- Sam Alvey def. Kevin Casey via second-round TKO.
- Kyle Bochniak def. Enrique Barzola via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29).
- Alessio Di Chirico def. Garreth McLellan via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
- Felipe Silva def. Shane Campbell via first-round TKO.
- Chad Laprise def. Thibault Gouti via first-round TKO.
- Jeremy Kennedy def. Alex Ricci via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Highlights and Analysis
Alvey Pummels Casey
Sam Alvey continues to knock people out and deliver WWE-like post-fight interviews. Here's a look at his finish of Kevin Casey, via Fox Sports: UFC:
As usual, Casey's lack of stamina rendered him almost defenseless after the first round. He went after several takedowns in the first five minutes.
He didn't land any of them and was spent by the start of the second frame. With his opponent's strikes noticeably slower, Alvey closed the distance and secured the finish.
After the fight, the always-entertaining Alvey called out every light heavyweight in Europe.
Miller Bests Lauzon Again
In a rematch of the Fight of the Year from 2012, Jim Miller again pulled out a hard-fought victory over Joe Lauzon. This time, Miller prevailed by split decision in a fight that was even closer than the first meeting.
Lauzon had his moments in the fight, and many of the fans booed the judges' decision. Lauzon secured a takedown in all three rounds, but Miller landed the more solid punches.
The decision could have gone either way.
Will we see a third fight? Miller said no during his post-fight interview, but we'll see what happens.
Paige VanZant Is Going to Be a Superstar
If you're looking for the "OMG" moment of the event, it came during the only women's fight on the card. Paige VanZant decimated Bec Rawlings with this switch kick to the head in the second round, via Fox Sports: UFC:
PVZ has as much star potential as anyone in the sport. If she can continue to dazzle crowds, she's headed for the top of a UFC pay-per-view card in the future.