Gray Maynard continued his five fight winning streak Monday night (Jan. 11) with a split decision victory over Nate Diaz in Fairfox, VA at UFC Fight Night 20. However, the outcome wasn’t the dominant victory Maynard was looking for.
Maynard and Diaz traded for the entirety of round one, with neither fighter claiming a significant edge. The back and forth exchanges continued into the second round, but Maynard managed to outbox Diaz for the five minutes.
The close fight entered the third round, and it was clear that the fight was likely going to remain on the feet. The round was just as close as the opening round for the first four minutes. However, the final moments of the fight saw Maynard land some solid shots that may have been enough to steal the round.
The Virginia crowd booed for a significant amount of the fight and was unhappy about it going to the judges’ scorecards. Maynard, however, seemed please when he landed a split decision victory.
UFC Fight Night 20 was a golden opportunity for Gray Maynard to step up and declare himself the top contender of the UFC lightweight division. However, a split decision victory over Nate Diaz is just not going to be enough to put “The Bully” into a title fight.
In earlier action, Efrain Escudero looked to continue his perfect record against Evan Dunham, who had a perfect record of his own.
Escudero managed to display very strong stand up early in the fight, nearly finishing Dunham with his heavy hands. However, Dunham managed to survive the first, and the two rolled into the second round.
The second round was a very even contest on both the feet and the ground. Dunham displayed his grappling skills, while Escudero displayed his submission abilities, but was unable to finish the jiu-jitsu brown belt.
However, when the third round hit the mats, it was not Dunham who was attempting to fend off a submission. Dunham managed to lock on a very deep armbar, and, while Escudero tried very hard to outlast the submission attempt, “Hecho en Mexico” had to tap to the arm lock.
Another fight that started off with fireworks was a bout between Aaron Simpson and Tom Lawlor. Lawlor managed to hurt Simpson badly numerous times during the first round, but was unable to finish the fight, as the two moved to the second round.
Simpson managed to outclass Lawlor, who seemed to be tiring after his first round efforts. However, the round was still close, and the two entered the third and final round.
The third round was all Simpson, as he managed to take Lawlor down and dominate him on the canvas. However, he was unable to finish the fight, and the two men went to the judges’ scorecards, where Simpson landed a split decision after nearly being finished in the opening round.
The night’s event opened up on Spike TV with a middleweight bout between “Ultimate Fighter” winner Amir Sadollah and “Bad” Brad Blackburn.
Sadollah managed to outclass Blackburn in all three rounds, nearly finishing the fight at several points, en route to a unanimous decision victory. Sadollah utilized his muy-thai and improved kickboxing to beat Blackburn at his own game.
Tags: Aaron Simpson, Amir Sadollah, Efrain Escudero, Evan Dunham, Gray Maynard, Mixed Martial Arts, Nate Diaz, Tom Lawlor, UFC