The athletic and explosive Woodley, known for using his speed to knock out the best, had done his homework. He was able to deny Demian in 21 takedown attempts in the center of the octagon via strength and sharp technique. The champ also defended some takedowns against the cage, but not without controversy as he grabbed the fence in desperation at least twice. This is an illegal way to stop a takedown, and should have resulted in point deductions after the first incidence.
The normally animated Woodley was criticized for not pressing the action during the fight, but commented after that he was careful not to give Demian a chance to implement his own game plan. Basically, he did the MMA equivalent of walking a home-run hitter. To Maia’s credit, he also shut down the champ’s strength, which is lightning fast punches. Except for a well timed uppercut on Demian’s second takedown attempt, the champ landed a record low number of strikes in the fight. After five rounds, Woodley pulled a unanimous decision, in spite of Maia pushing the action and seeming to control the space most of the time.
This bout was tainted with controversy right from the beginning. With the fight announcement coming on June 28th, Maia was only given four weeks to prepare for what was likely the most important fight of his life. Normally, fighters are given much more notice for a title fight, allowing them to have training camps for ten to twelve weeks. Some people believe that the short notice was an attempt to stack the cards in Woodley’s favor, and that he may have been given more notice than was Demian.
In any case, we are proud of everything that Demian has accomplished both on the Jiu-jitsu mat and in the octagon, and happy to have him as our Professor/ Master.
#TeamDemian #Team Z