By : MMA Writer Chris Palma
Jiujitsu ace Demian Maia (15-3, 9-3 UFC) will lock horns with Chris “All American” Weidman (7-0,3-0 UFC) on the UFC on Fox 2. Weidman stepped on just about a months notice to take on Maia after Maia’s original opponent, Michael Bisping, was called upon to replace the injured Mark Munoz in the evenings co-main event against Chael Sonnen. The 3 fight main card will air live on FOX, and be the growing promotions second live event aired on the television giants prime-time network. The entire 8 fight preliminary card will air live on Fuel TV.
The phrase “world class” is commonly used by commentators and media alike to over hype talent. However this phrase exactly describes the stellar grappling pedigree of Demian Maia. Maia, a jiu jitsu black belt under 8 time world champion Fabio Gurgel, was given his invitation into the UFC in 2007 after winning the 2007 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in the 77-87 kg weight class. He burst onto the UFC scene with 5 straight submission wins, including 4 “Submission of the Night” awards.
Since that time Maia’s has been on an up and down ride, going 3-4, in his past seven fights including a 5 round unanimous decision loss to long time divisional king Anderson Silva. Over his twelve previous UFC fights we have seen the skill set of Demian Maia progress with improved striking and confidence in his stand up game.
Chris Weidman, a protege of former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Serra and Ray Longo, takes a major step up in competition with this fight. Taking this fight on just about a months notice, he will square off against what will undoubtedly be the toughest challenge of his young career. A former standout college wrestler at Hofstra University, where he earned Division I All American honors twice, Weidman made his professional career in February of 2009 less than 3 years ago. In that time he has amassed an undefeated 7-0 record, including a 3-0 record in UFC.
Though of by many as one of the top young prospects Weidman, unlike many other wrestling to mma converts, does not solely rely on his wrestling to stifle opponents. He posses both a solid jiu jitsu and boxing game which he has showcased over his time in the UFC outpointing dangerous striker Alessio Sakara in his UFC debut, and then submitting both Jesse Bongfeldt and Tom Lawlor with first round chokes.
Maia’s jiu jitsu is definitely the biggest factor in the fight for either fighter. On the ground he posses the ability to end the fight at potentially any second, from almost any position. In his fights with Chael Sonnen and Jorge Santiago he also showed the ability to be able to bring the fight the mat at his discretion. Even with the improved standup he has recently shown I am still not sure that he has the tools to beat his young challenger. Weidman’s wrestling ability paired with his own solid jiu jitsu game gives him the tools to keep the fight in the upright position, and if need be stay out of any bad positions on the mat. I believe he also posses the the more technical and powerful standup and with the ability to choose where the fight takes place, it will be to much for Maia to handle. Weidman will control the standup, and should he decide to take the fight to the mat he will use his strong wrestling base to control Maia en route to a unanimous decision victory.
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