It was a competitive matchup but Maia was able to get the better of Santiago, winning by unanimous decision.
This was a big win for Maia, who needed a win to rebound from his split-decision loss to Mark Munoz earlier this year.
Santiago is now 0-2 since returning to the UFC and his future with the promotion is uncertain.
What we'll remember about Demian Maia vs. Jorge Santiago:
Very little, to be honest.
While competitive, this was a stale fight and was not particularly enjoyable to watch.
It was a forgettable performance from both fighters.
If there is one thing to make note of, it's that a fight between two Jiu-Jitsu experts has huge potential to be disappointing.
We learned this lesson when Ken Shamrock fought Royce Gracie for the second time and we were reminded of it tonight.
Two men who respect each other's submission skills will be hesitant to go on the offensive and you end up with a pretty boring fight.
What we learned about Demian Maia:
He may have plateaued.
Since losing fights to Nate Marquardt and Anderson Silva, Maia has been making noticeable adjustments to his game, working hard on rounding out skill set.
For a while, Maia was making big improvements, especially in his striking, but tonight we saw nothing new from him.
Maia's striking actually looked less impressive than when we last saw him, his takedowns looked solid but not anymore dominant than usual, and we didn't see much of his submission skills.
What we learned about Jorge Santiago:
He is not a top middleweight.
When Santiago made his return to the UFC earlier this year, he was riding a big win-streak and many believed that he had the potential to be an elite middleweight in the UFC.
Sadly, those people were wrong.
Santiago is 0-2 since coming back to the UFC and hasn't looked great in either fights.
If he doesn't get cut from the UFC after tonight, Santiago will likely never be more than a gatekeeper at 185 lbs.
What's next for Demian Maia:
Maia can expect a big name for his next fight and likely a return to the main card.
It's possible that he'll get the loser of Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz.
Leben vs. Maia would be a classic striker vs. grappler matchup and Maia has already fought Munoz and lost a controversial decision, so a second fight would make sense.
Wanderlei Silva is another potential opponent for Maia.
What's next for Jorge Santiago:
Santiago is in a tough spot right now and, given that he's lost two straight, he'll likely receive a lower-level opponent in his next fight.
Names like Alan Belcher, Aaron Simpson and Tim Boetsch come to mind.
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