Demian Maia took a grappling-filled decision from Jorge Santiago at UFC 136 in Houston on Saturday night. Though the judges gave Maia the 30-27 win on all of their cards, he did little to finish the fight.
The two submission specialists swung for the fences early in the fight, landing kicks and punchers until Maia got a takedown. In the past, that means the end of the fight for Maia, but Santiago was able to defend and push Maia off of him. Later in the round, Santiago threw a flying knee, but that just opened him up for a takedown. Maia controlled Santiago on the ground for the rest of the round.
Santiago kept Maia at bay for much of the second with better striking, but Maia still got a takedown halfway through the round. Again, Santiago was able to defend and hold off Maia's attempts to pass guard, but couldn't get out from the bottom position.
To start off the third, Santiago defended a Maia takedown attempt. As Santiago's corner screamed for him to be more aggressive, Santiago was taken down again. For the rest of the round, Maia was in control, throwing elbows and short punches, but not doing anything to finish the fight.
Maia has world-class BJJ credentials, and has the reputation of being a submission whiz. However, his last submission win came over Chael Sonnen at UFC 95. With the win over Santiago, Maia's record moves to 15-3. Santiago, who is in his second stint with the UFC, has lost two in a row. His overall record is now 23-10.