How a twisted foot led to brawler Fabio Maldonado’s first submission win in seven years

To the surprise of many fans, Fabio Maldonado won his second consecutive fight earlier this week by defeating Kurban Omarov at Fight Nights 73 in Dagestan. The surprise was not so much the fact that the UFC vet got his hands raised, though, but that he used these hands that are so used to brawling to sink in a Guillotine Choke and get his first submission win since 2010.

“I know how to do this technique and in MMA, anything can happen”, Maldonado told AG. Fight. “We train everything and of course you have difficulties in some things. But I never stopped training jiu-jitsu. All my life, I thought my jiu-jitsu can’t be lacking. The only thing was that I couldn’t finish someone this way – I had more success hitting the head and the body, which is how I won my fights.”

Maldonado also revealed that he twisted his right foot early in the fight, which made it impossible for him to pursue the aggressive, brawling style that he has become known for over the course of five years with the UFC. Standing in front of the tiring Omarov and feeling unable to increase the pressure, Maldonado felt like a submission would be the best way to try and finish the fight.

“I thought I was going to be able to get him in the first round, but he’s tough and he kicks really hard”, Maldonado said. “I twisted my right foot and I’m just saying that now because I won, so it doesn’t look like an excuse. I twisted my foot in the middle of the fight and I don’t know how it didn’t break. I lost a lot of mobility and I had to stay calm. My opponent was tired but I had no leg to chase after him.”

Still, Maldonado is a fighter’s fighter, and so he finished the job anyway.

“You can call me the day before the fight, and if you have a good offer and I’m good to fight, I fight”, Maldonado said. “I am 37 years old and I need to take care of health, but I’m a fighter.”

So, how does his career continue from now on? For Maldonado, who challenged boxing champion Denis Lebedev after his recent victory, the noble art might be an interesting option.

“Maybe it’s boxing”, he said, before giving a brutally honest take on his athletic foundation that plays a part in his decision. “My coordination is not so good. I was never an athlete who learned fast. I’ve always acquired things through persistence. I’m bad in striking, but I’m searching a fight and the exchange of punches.”

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