Demian Maia brought a worst-case scenario to life for Carlos Condit.
The 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist on Saturday submitted Condit with a first-round rear-naked choke in the UFC on Fox 21 main event at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia. Maia tied the bow 1:52 into round one, becoming the first man to submit the “Natural Born Killer” since Pat Healy did the honors on June 3, 2006.
Once it spilled onto the canvas, Condit never stood a chance. Maia advanced to his back at the base of the cage, secured his position and snaked his arms into place. The tapout came not long after Condit experienced the Brazilian’s squeeze; and somewhere, Rick Story shuddered.
Maia has been nothing short of dominant in piecing together a six-fight winning streak, which covers victories over Condit, Matt Brown, Gunnar Nelson, Neil Magny, Ryan LaFlare and Alexander Yakovlev. During his current tear, the 38-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has secured 15 takedowns, executed 41 guard passes and outstruck his opposition by a staggering 500-126 margin.
In wake of UFC on Fox 21 “Maia vs. Condit,” here are five matches that ought to be considered:
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Demian Maia vs. Tyron Woodley-Stephen Thompson winner: Maia has established himself as the No. 1 contender in waiting at 170 pounds. One of the sport’s most accomplished and feared grapplers, he has submitted three of his last four opponents with rear-naked chokes and seems to be improving with age. Maia, who turns 39 in November, indicated a willingness to wait for a title shot, even if it means sitting on the sidelines well into 2017. Woodley is expected to defend the UFC welterweight championship against the surging Thompson sometime in the coming months, though no official announcement has been made.
Anthony Pettis vs. Jeremy Stephens: After three consecutive losses, Pettis reassessed his position and made the decision to downshift to 145 pounds. The move paid immediate dividends for the former UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion, as he submitted Charles Oliveira with a third-round guillotine choke in their highly competitive and entertaining co-main event. The victory was Pettis’ first since he dropped a guillotine on Gilbert Melendez in December 2014. Stephens last appeared at a UFC Fight Night event on May 29, when he took a unanimous verdict from Renan Barao. The Alliance MMA rep has history with Pettis, as he lost a split decision to “Showtime” as a lightweight some five years ago.
Paige VanZant vs. Maryna Moroz: VanZant returned from her “Dancing with the Stars” detour and authored a jaw-dropping highlight, as she wiped out Bec Rawlings with a jumping switch kick and follow-up punches in the second round of their women’s strawweight showcase. The 22-year-old Team Alpha Male prospect remains rough around the edges but has plenty of time to grow into her undeniable talents. VanZant has gone 5-1 across her past six bouts, a submission loss to Rose Namajunas her only misstep. Moroz, 24, posted her second straight win on Aug. 6, when the Ukrainian boxer walked away from her UFC Fight Night clash against Danielle Taylor with a split decision.
Jim Miller vs. Will Brooks-Alex Oliveira winner: Though it was far less one-sided this time, Miller nevertheless took a 2-0 lead in his head-to-head series with Joe Lauzon. The former Ring of Combat and Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder settled for a split decision in his rematch with Lauzon a little less than four years after their unforgettable first encounter. Miller, 32, went 1-4 in five appearances between July 16, 2014 and March 5, 2016 but has responded with back-to-back wins, showing he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. American Top Team’s Brooks will toe the line against Oliveira at UFC Fight Night “Lineker vs. Dodson” on Oct. 1 in Portland, Oregon.
Carlos Condit vs. Robbie Lawler: Condit’s best-laid plans went awry -- and spectacularly so. The Jackson-Wink MMA rep failed to last two minutes against the aforementioned Maia, as he tapped to a rear-naked choke from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu savant 1:52 into round one of their UFC on Fox 21 main event. It was the first time Condit had been submitted in more than a decade. The 32-year-old Albuquerque, New Mexico, native remained noncommittal on his future in the immediate aftermath and has flirted with retirement in the past. However, if Condit does return to the cage, a rematch with Lawler would rank high on almost any MMA Christmas list. Lawler was awarded a split decision over Condit at UFC 195 on Jan. 2 in what most still view as the frontrunner for “Fight of the Year.”