Friday, 27 January 2012

UFC on FX 2 - Maia vs Weidman Preview

Damien Maia was originally slated to fight against Micheal Bisping, but an injury to Mark Munoz meant that Bisping was promoted to the co-main event against Chael Sonnen and Damien Maia was left without an opponent.  The UFC attempted to set up a contest with Rousimar Palhares, but it was too short notice for the Brazillian and so Weidman stepped up.  Somehow, Weidman is a favourite with bookmakers, while many commentators speculate that it may be too soon for rookie to fight someone of Maia's standard.

via Sherdog

Recent History

  • Weidman is undefeated in his nine pro MMA bouts, with three UFC wins.
  • His latest have been impressive submission stoppages in the first round.
  • Maia has won three of his last four, with his loss coming at the hands of Mark Munoz.
  • Maia has gone the distance in his last four fights, winning four and losing two decisions.
Damien Maia is a third degree Brazilian Ju Jutsu black belt and has won a plethora of international grappling tournaments.  Maia differs from some BJJ converts to MMA in that he has pretty formidable takedowns, so he can get the fight to down where he wants it.  He has become a bit of a submission machine and that is largely testament to his ability to take opponents down and work enough to stay on top of them.  Maia and his coaches talk alot about his improving boxing and a better all round standing game but in reality that represents plan B.  Although rounding off his game if important, Maia will always look to take the fight to where he is better than almost anyone.  

Chris Weidman is an up and coming fighter with a lot of hype behind him given his last two wins.  As a young fighter, his style is still developing and it is tricky to pin point exactly how he would like to fight, particularly against a BJJ specialist like Maia.  Weidman has a strong wrestling background and has so far used that to dominate and control opponents.  He talks about a strong grounding in ju jutsu and has of course submitted his last two opponents.

Head to Head
While at the press conference Weidman claimed he was willing to roll with Maia, it seems like it would be foolish to wade into another fighter's strongest skill set.  That being said, Weidman has demonstrated good top control and Maia has not submitted someone for a long time, let alone from his back.  Should Weidman be able to take Maia down, it might well be his ability to sweep or attack from the bottom that determines the fight.

Standing, I have no idea how the fight goes down.  Maia is competent on the feet but almost certainly does not have the kind of power to earn Weidman's respect or knock him out.  We are yet to see what Weidman's got with his hands really, especially as his game evolves, but I think this is where the majority of this fight could play out.

I reckon the experience and wiliness of Maia should help him keep the fight wherever he feels he has the advantage.

Why watch it?
A chance of an intriguing grappling chess match.

As a treat, here's a GIF that shows off Weidman's power with submissions as he Brabo chokes Tom Lawlor.

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