Fabio Maldonado wins by TKO, celebrates with Anderson Silva

It looked like it was going to be another uneventful fight until Fabio Maldonado — and then Anderson Silva — saved the day.

After being on the bottom the entire first round, Maldonado swept Hans Stringer in the second and landed a vicious ground and pound attack to win by TKO at 4:06 of the second round Saturday at UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro. Maldonado jumped on the Octagon to celebrate the win and Silva came to join him.

Maldonado seemed to be en route to getting dominated. Stringer was on top of him for essentially the entire first round and was dropping elbows that opened up a nasty cut on Maldonado’s forehead.

The second round seemed to be going the same way with Stringer in control on the ground. But Maldonado found a way to reverse things and get on top of the Dutchman. From there, with Stringer seemingly gassed, Maldonado began raining down punches. Stringer didn’t defend, so the fight was called with just under a minute left in the second round.

Maldonado (22-7) was coming off being knocked out by Stipe Miocic in just 36 seconds in May. That was at heavyweight, while Maldonado is ranked No. 15 in the UFC among light heavyweight contenders. In his natural weight class, Maldonado, 34, has now won four in a row. He’s known as one of the most exciting fighters and managed to save a boring fight here.

Stringer (22-6) won his UFC debut against Francimar Barroso in March and is usually known for his kickboxing. His strategy against Maldonado, though, was to take things to the ground and for awhile it was working. The 27-year-old will go back to the drawing board and see if he can execute his game plan throughout the fight next time.