After tasting his own blood, Fabio Maldonado earns comeback win over Gian Villante

Fabio Maldonado left the cage blood-soaked and victorious.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Everything was going Gian Villante’s way until Fabio Maldonado tasted blood. His own.

After being dominated in the first and smashed open in the second with a huge knee, Maldonado seemed to be in huge trouble, but instead, that dangerous moment marked the beginning of his comeback. The blood streaming down his face seemed to ignite the fire within him, and Maldonado completely crushed Villante for the rest of the fight. Maldonado nearly knocked him out late, and while Villante survived to the final bell, he lost a unanimous decision.

The judges scored the UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson II main card bout 29-28, 29-28, 29-27.  

Maldonado won on heart and volume, out-landing Villante 142-18 over the last two rounds, according to FightMetric statistics.

"I went back to my corner and they told me to throw larger volume," the Brazilian light-heavyweight said through his interpreter. "He’s a very tough guy. He had me tired in the first round. He had me in deep waters."

Villante did indeed get off to a strong start, taking advantage of Maldonado’s wrestling issues. Villante was able to take him down twice and overpower him on the mat, keeping him there for almost the entire duration of the round. Maldonado did good work in limiting Villante’s striking offense from the position, allowing only 28 strikes despite the compromised position, but he was stuck on the defensive regardless. 

But after Villante landed the knee, it was all Maldonado. By midway through the third round, Villante could barely lift his hands to protect himself, and it appeared ref Herb Dean considered stopping the fight in the final seconds as Villante staggered around the cage after eating a barrage of power punches. 

Nevertheless, it’s a third straight win for Maldonado, who is now 21-6. Villante fell to 11-5.