On Wednesday, Oct. 9, the UFC hosted UFC Fight Night 29: Maia vs. Shields from the Jose Correa Arena in Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In the night’s main event, grappling aces and former title challengers Demian Maia and Jake Shields battled it out with each looking for another crack at UFC gold. The Brazilian Maia was riding a three-fight winning streak since dropping to welterweight. Similarly, Shields stepped into the cage having not tasted defeat in over two years.

Also on the main card, rising Brazilian welterweight Erick Silva took on South Korean Dong Hyun Kim, veteran light heavyweights Matt Hamill and Thiago Silva locked horns, Joey Beltran and Fabio Maldonado faced off, also at 205 pounds, Brazilian submission specialist Rousimar Palhares dropped to welterweight to battle Mike Pierce, and bantamweights Raphael Assuncao and T.J. Dillashaw looked to move up the 135-pound ladder with another win.

The 10-fight event kicked off at 5 p.m. ET with four bouts airing on Fox Sports 1. The six-fight main card followed at 7 p.m. ET.

Shields outworks Maia

Demian Maia and Jake Shields poised to deliver on a grappling fan’s dream fight. Maia only stood an inch taller than Shields and both men held an identical reach. People didn’t ask if this one would hit the ground, but rather, they asked when it would and what would happen.

Maia struggled at first to get Shields down, but he did find a takedown and stayed on top for a moment. He held control of the top position and prevented Shields from getting anything going on the ground, but Shields reversed it and worked some top control of his own. The round ended with both men on the ground, and neither individual threatening the other in the way they wanted.

Shields took a slower-paced second round to the ground and left Maia with little-to-no space to work for submissions. Even when the bout moved closer to the center of the Octagon, Shields left Maia unable to do anything at all. Shields brought his fight to Maia, and took control of the fight, but he needed to travel further if he wanted to take a decision away from Maia.

Maia almost turned the tide in round three, just as he wanted to in the opening frame, but Shields reversed again. Maia’s guard near the last minute of the round appeared as a half-closed, half-butterfly guard of sorts, but it did prevent Shields from passing and properly transitioning. Maia ended the round on his back, and needed to turn things up in round four if he wanted to turn this bout around.

Round four saw a battle in the clinch, with neither man able to take the other down. The referee separated the two after some inactivity, and Maia eventually found another takedown. The referee stood the fight up again, despite Maia landing shots to the body of Shields. Shields appeared fatigued this round, but with the final round approaching, that fatigue could have easily camouflaged a rush of adrenaline to the former Strikeforce middleweight champion’s body.

Much like the fourth round, the fifth round sees a battle for control, with both men relying on not only their clinch games, but also their striking. Shields hunted hard for a takedown and knew that one takedown would sway a decision in his favor, but both men looked exhausted against the cage, and a brief kickboxing-esque exchange rounded out the final 20 seconds of the final frame.

Shields walked out of hostile territory with a split decision win, thus upsetting the home favorite. The fans booed in unison, but the tactical chess bout promised a close fight, and turned in a tilt in which both men created a case towards a win. Nevertheless, Shields scored another consecutive win, while Maia succumbed to defeat for the first time as a welterweight.

Kim knocks out Silva

Dong Hyun Kim knew the blueprint to beat Erick Silva before he got offered the fight. Jon Fitch showed the world how to beat Silva decisively in 2012. Even still, could Kim follow that blueprint and find the win in Silva’s backyard?

Kim got off to a slow start against Silva, who displayed his aggressiveness in the early going.  Kim took advantage of Silva’s aggressiveness, though,and got the fight to the ground. Kim’s top control reduced the risk of getting submitted by Silva, and the round ended with Silva attempting holds, but unable to do much from the bottom.

Kim shocked the audience in round two, where Silva actually re-established his aggression and placed himself in position to TKO “Stun Gun”. Kim instead capitalized on Silva’s own fatigue, caused by Kim’s grinding style in round one, and knocked Silva down and out with a massive left hand. The bout marked the first time  Silva ever lost by knockout in  professional fight.

Silva batters Hamill

Matt Hamill stepped into enemy territory to face Thiago Silva in light heavyweight action. Silva, though, missed weight, and surrendered 25 percent of his purse, as well as the opportunity to earn one of the three fight bonuses given at the end of the night. Risking a potential contract termination with a loss, Silva knew he needed to make a similar statement to the one he made against Rafael Cavalcante.

A back-and-forth striking battle told the story in round one, with Hamill and Silva both sticking their share of leg kicks, but Silva connected with head and body shots that initially backed “The Hammer” up. A liver shot from Hamill began to turn the tide in Hamill’s favor, as he began to open up with more combinations towards the end of the round, but although he forced Silva to breathe heavily, Silva made it to round two.

On the advice of one of his coaches, Silva aimed to keep it simple, and although Hamill tripped Silva, he ate punches from Silva due to not changing levels on his takedown attempts. Nevertheless, he did find a takedown, but the bout reset to the feet, where Hamill considered the Thai clinch. Silva found an opening to drop Hamill and take some wind out of his sails, but Hamill recovered. With only seconds to go in the round, Hamill found another takedown, but the round ran out before he could mount serious offense to Silva while taking his back.

Hamill’s fatigue showed in round three. Silva landed leg kick after leg kick on Hamill, and even hurt Hamill a number of times, but Hamill hung on until the final bell. An accidental eye poke paused the bout, but it ultimately did not matter, because his output forced Hamill to look out on his feet at times. The fight went to the judges, and while the judges did not all agree on the scoring, they agreed that Silva did take the victory.

Maldonado ekes past Beltran

Fabio Maldonado and Joey Beltran promised a “Fight of The Night” contender simply because both men always swing for the fences. Maldonado, on paper, only stood at a disadvantage because he traditionally started slow, while Beltran looked to implement the better offense while preventing Maldonado from getting off with his body shots and his vaunted boxing attack.

Maldonado did start off slow, but to his credit, his takedown defense prevented Beltran from getting the best end of a takedown attempt. Beltran made it clear that he wanted to drain Maldonado’s energy and then execute his barrage of strikes. Two shots below the belt paused the action, but after the action resumed, Beltran discovered what Maldonado could take, and Maldonado gave some back.

The second round saw less takedown attempts and more up-close exchanges. Again, Maldonado took Beltran’s best and came forward, but this time, Maldonado began to find homes for his body shots. Maldonado’s face began to show the results of Beltran’s offense, but as expected, he remained focused on fighting through the third round.

The third round picked up where both men left off in round two. Beltran’s punches continued to damage Maldonado’s face, but Maldonado continued to mix up his punches and avoid a number of big shots from Beltran. Near the end of the bout, Beltran attempted to mount some offense on a grounded Maldonado, but at the end of a close fight, the fans applauded a great showing from both fighters.

Maldonado took a split decision, with the speed and the jab making the difference for the Brazilian. Beltran went home with a loss, but he can rest easy with the fact that he put on a hard-fought performance and demonstrated some heart in his effort. Maldonado can say the same in his own right, though he will come off of two straight wins when he takes on his next fight.

Palhares quickly submits Pierce

Rousimar Palhares dropped to welterweight to reinvent himself, but he and his leg locks found a tough challenge on paper against Mike Pierce. In his entire career, no one had knocked out Pierce, nor had they submitted him. However, that streak ended for Pierce in just 31 seconds, thanks to “Toquinho”.

Everyone knew that, even at welterweight, Palhares wanted to lock up someone’s leg. When Pierce came out in Palhares’ face, however, things steered more in the direction of the wrestling, ground-and-pound assault, and power shots that defined Pierce’s game. Palhares still attacked Pierce’s leg, and when he could not find it the first time, Palhares kept himself composed until he found his patented heel hook.

Bruce Buffer announced the hold as an ankle lock, but the replay showed that Palhares went through with executing his signature submission, and the technique behind the hold paid dividends towards the 31-second submission win. While Palhares found his first welterweight win, Pierce now finds himself looking to rebound from the first loss via finish in his career.

Assuncao tops Dillashaw

Raphael Assuncao looked to halt the Team Alpha  Male momentum train with a win over T.J. Dillashaw in Brazil. The Team Alpha Male camp enjoyed some success with the camp scoring 12 wins in the wake of Duane Ludwig becoming head coach, though, so Dillashaw came in with motivation to improve the camp’s run to 13-0 since Ludwig’s stint as head coach began. Things would play out differently, however, once the fight began.

Dillashaw prevented Assuncao from completing a number of takedowns from the onset, and the first round saw Assuncao defending a rear-naked choke from Dillashaw. As the fight carried on, though, Assuncao did efficient work on doing damage to the TUF 14 standout while standing, working in jabs with punishing kicks. Assuncao kept on finding his mark with well-timed kicks and his jab, and Dillashaw’s face showed the result of the WEC veteran’s precision.

Dillashaw worked to make the bout close in all areas and never let himself out of the fight mentally, but despite his efforts, only one judges scored the bout in his favor. Assuncao bagged a hard-fought split decision win, with his damaging output on the feet telling the story to all in attendance. With the win, Assuncao moves closer to the upper echelon of the division, while Dillashaw sees a four-fight winning streak snapped.

Preliminary Card Summary

In the final preliminary of the evening, welterweight Ildemar Alcantara secured his share of takedowns in the first two rounds of his bout with The Ultimate Fighter 16 veteran Igor Araujo, but after a reversal in round one saw Araujo controlling Alcantara from the top, fatigue began to settle in. After finding more success with his offense in round two, Araujo took firm control of the third with some takedowns and ground control of his own. Ground and pound closed out the third round, but Araujo could not finish before the end of the round. Nevertheless, Araujo went home with a unanimous decision win against Alcanatara, with the judges scoring two of the three rounds in favor of the TUF 16 veteran.

Undefeated welterweight Yan Cabral, one of the favorites on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 2, aimed to score the first submission of the card from the onset of his bout with David Mitchell, but Mitchell fended off Cabral’s early attempts. Cabral dropped Mitchell early with a counter-right in the second round and constantly kept pressuring Mitchell.  Cabral almost took a third-round submission via arm-triangle, but Mitchell hung on until the final bell, and Cabral took a unanimous decision, winning all three rounds on all three of the cageside judges’ scorecards due to his constant pressure and activity.

In flyweight action, Iliarde Santos took strikes to dish out strikes to Chris Cariaso, and it gained him momentum at the end of the first frame. Cariaso came back strong in the second, however, and took Santos’ gas tank away from him. With Santos tired, Cariaso landed a hard barrage of punches that went unanswered and granted Cariaso another Octagon victory.

In the event’s opening tilt, Alan Patrick accomplished his goal of extending his undefeated record to 11-0 and winning his UFC debut. Patrick wore down Whiteley with an early takedown attempt, and despite taking early shots, a left hand found the mark, dropping Whiteley on contact. Patrick followed up with a series of strikes before the referee’s intervention.

Jake Shields def. Demian Maia by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
Dong Hyun Kim def. Erick Silva by knockout (punch), Round 2, 3:01
Thiago Silva def. Matt Hamill by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27)
Fabio Maldonado def. Joey Beltran by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Rousimar Palhares def. Mike Pierce by submission (heel hook). Round 1, 0:31
Raphael Assuncao def. T.J. Dillashaw by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Igor Araujo def. Ildemar Alcantara by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Yan Cabral def. David Mitchell by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Chris Cariaso def. Iliarde Santos by TKO (punches), Round 2, 4:31
Alan Patrick def. Garett Whiteley by TKO (punches), Round 1, 3:54

Photo: Jake Shields (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.