Night for the Underdogs (UFC Fight Night 29 Review)

Photo Credit: FoxSports.com

Photo Credit: FoxSports.com

In a period where championships are being decided the future challengers got their chance to show their stuff at UFC Fight Night 29. The UFC has had a long string of title fights in the last few months as almost every belt has been up for grabs. In the last eight UFC events there have been a total of 6 title fights and all have been true questions for the champions. So far two champions have lost their belts in what seemed like an era of change for the UFC. This championship pace will not slow down either as a three more title fights will be seen before the end of the year. Among all of the title fights the fact that a number of fighters are simply looking for their shot can be forgotten. The title fights are the headline grabbers and rightfully so as they are the reason people rent pay per views and buy tickets to events. They are the best of the best fighting against each other to determine who the top fighter in the division is. Yet sometimes the fights lower down are the better shows. The fights between two fighters just looking to make an impression can sometimes be the best fights. When two fighters face off for a title they can sometimes be cautious trying to make sure they do not make a mistake. In these fights the people involved will try to not lose the fight rather than go out and win the fight. Meanwhile below the title fighters the rest of the division is trying to make an impression on Dana White and Joe Silva. Many of them will do anything to make this impression and because of that they take bigger risks and go for the finish more aggressively. Although the title fights are great and rarely disappoint the forgotten fights on the way to these bigger main events are not to be missed. At UFC Fight Night 29 two fighters would try to make sure that their fight was not to be missed as Jake Shields and Demian Maia would take centre stage to climb up the rankings in hopes that they might be next for the welterweight title. It was a matchup of two of the best ground fighters in the welterweight division as two BJJ blackbelts would face off with real title implications. For Demian Maia this fight was to defend his #4 ranking in the division with a win giving him a much shorter path to the welterweight title. For Shields this fight was all about getting back into the top 10 of the rankings as taking out a top 5 fighter would immediately get people talking. The biggest question was whether Maia or Shields could take over the fight with both fighters showing the same skill set. The first round would see Demian Maia take the first step towards the test looking immediately to take down Shields. Maia would earn the takedown and while on top would try to show that he was the better BJJ practitioner in this fight. The fight would remain on the ground for the first round as Shields would reverse position at the end of the round staying on top. The second round would see Shields start like he had finished getting the top position and continuing to grind. Shields would remain on top the entire second round as Shields continued the ground and pound landing great elbows from the top. The third round would see much of the same with Shield son top but in the fourth Maia would begin a comeback getting the top position. The final round would be the deciding factor as both fighters would enter the final round essentially even and looking to make one last impression on the judges. Neither fighter would really make much of an impression as the final round of the fight would see both Shields and Maia look in control at different times. In the end it was the underdog Jake Shields who would pull off the win as his standup in the final round would put him just over the top of the Brazilian. Neither fighter would really impress as the submission attempts were not there and the ground fight could have been better. Maia would take the loss and will drop in the rankings as his journey towards a title fight was over. He will have to restart the climb now as he was not very impressive and would lose to someone out of the top 10. Meanwhile Shields would earn the victory and although he beat a top four fighter may not crack the top ten. If he does it will not be very high as the win was a good one but it was not very impressive. He will need a lot more to get back to the title fight but the climb has started with a win against Maia.

Before Shields and Maia faced off in their welterweight fight two more welterweights would show what they could do. Erik Silva and Dong Hyun Kim would face off in the co-main event of the evening in an important fight for both fighters. It was a fight that could change the careers of both of these fighters with the winner likely creeping into the top 10. The pressure of a big fight would only be magnified for the young Brazilian who would be fighting at home and would be watched closely to try and continue the trend of Brazilian wins. For most fighters it would be a big deal to fight in their home country but for Silva this had become par for the course. Silva would fight four of his five fights in the UFC in Brazil. It was nothing new for Silva and for Dong Hyun Kim it was also nothing new. Kim has never fought at home meaning he has fought as a visitor more often than not. Both fighters would be seeing familiar situations but the question was who would feel more comfortable and add a win to their record. As one of the most promising young fighters from Brazil Silva was looking for his fourth win in the UFC and trying to string together two straight wins for the first time in the UFC. Kim on the other hand was looking for his third straight win in the division and trying to show that he can beat those rising stars. Either fighter could have gotten the win and started their way up the ladder to fight the real tests in the division but they would have to get by each other first. The fight would start with Kim looking to grind out a win against the fence. Kim would look to be in complete control until the beginning of the second round. Silva came out swinging and looked to be swinging the momentum back to his corner. Kim looked to be out of it after a tiring first round and then the unpredictability came through. Both fighters would swing for the fences but only Kim’s punch would find its way through catching Silva right on the chin. Silva would go down hard and his attempt at impressing the home crowd would be lost. Kim would have his third win in a row and his first UFC finish since 2008. Silva will once again drop in the line as he continues to fail to string together wins while Kim will definitely rise in the rankings and will begin fighting better opponents as he tries to work up the rankings in the Welterweight division.

 

Fight Bonuses

Submission of the Night
With only one submission on the night the decision seemed to be simple but the fact that Rousimar Palhares held his ankle lock submission against Mike Pierce well after the fight was stopped there would be no bonus handed out due to unsportsmanlike conduct

Knockout of the Night
There was no question that the co-main event would get something this night and it would be Dong Hyun Kim who would walk away with the bonus money for Knockout of the Night for his massive KO of Erick Silva

Fight of the Night
The undercard would take focus in this bonus as Raphael Assuncao and TJ Dillashaw would earn the bonus for their three round battle that would see Assuncao take the win after both fighters went all out in the split decision fight

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Jake Shields def. Demian Maia
(Split Decision)

Main Card:
Dong “Stun Gun” Hyun Kim def. Erick silva
(KO; Rd. 2)

Thiago Silva def. Matt “The Hammer” Hamill
(Unanimous Decision)

Fabio Maldonado def. Joey “The Mexicutioner” Beltran
(Split Decision)

Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares def. Mike Pierce
(Submission; Ankle Lock, Rd. 1)

Raphael Assuncao def. T.J. Dillashaw
(Split Decision)

Undercard:
Igor Araujo def. Ildemar “Marajo” Alcantara
(Unanimous Decision)

Yan Cabral def. David “Daudi” Mitchell
(Unanimous Decision)

Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso def. Iliarde Santos
(TKO; Rd. 2)

Alan Patrick def. Garrett “Goodnight” Whiteley
(KO; Rd. 1)

 

Upcoming Events

UFC 166: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez III (Saturday October 19th; 10:00 pm ET)
Houston, Texas (Toyota Center)
Main Event: Cain Velasquez vs. Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos [Heavyweight Title]
Notable: Daniel “DC” Cormier vs. Roy “Big Country” Nelson
Notable: Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez vs. Diego “The Dream” Sanchez

UFC Fight Night 30: Machida vs. Munoz (Saturday October 26th; 3:00 pm ET)
Manchester, England (Phones 4u Arena)
Main Event: Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida vs. Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz
Notable: Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson vs. Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard
Notable: Jimi “Postery Boy” Manuwa vs. Ryan “Big Deal” Jimmo

UFC Fight Night 31: Fight for the Troops 3 (Wednesday November 6th; 7:00 pm ET)
Fort Campbell, Kentucky
Main Event: Tim Kennedy vs. Rafael “Sapo” Natal
Notable: Liz “Girlrilla” Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis
Notable: Ronny Markes vs. Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero

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