One is a submission master who seems to have forgotten that he's a submission master. The other rebuilt his name overseas and walked into the UFC as a contender, but his chin sold him out once again and now he's fighting to just stay afloat in the elite of the division. Demian Maia (14-3, 8-3 UFC) meets Jorge Santiago (23-9, 1-3 UFC).
Maia is currently at number 7 and Santiago sits at 17 on the USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings. This fight is vital for both fighters to remain relevant and highly-ranked at 185 pounds. This middleweight fight will be on the preliminary card, which will be shown live on Spike TV. The Spike prelims show begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
How do these two stack up?
Maia: 33 years old | 6'0" | 72" reach
Santiago: 30 years old | 6'1" | 75" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Demian Maia is a highly decorated jiu jitsu player who has won many prestigious events including the ADCC's. He made his UFC debut in 2007 and racked up 5 straight wins, including a 1st round submission win over Chael Sonnen, before being KO'd in just 21 seconds by Nate Marquardt. He fought back from that loss and earned a title shot against Anderson Silva in a fight where Silva bizarrely refused to engage. He lost, but picked up another two wins after that. He most recently dropped a hard-fought decision against Mark Munoz at UFC 131.
Jorge Santiago made his UFC debut way back in 2006, picking up a win before getting finished by both Chris Leben and Alan Belcher in fights he was initially winning. After picking up an easy 4-man Strikeforce tournament win, he headed to Japan.He completely rebuilt himself over there, going 7-1 and winning the Sengoku middleweight title in the process. He had two fights with Kazuo Misaki that are both on the short list for greatest fight of all time. He made his return to the UFC at UFC 130, but Brian Stann finished him by TKO in the 2nd round and left Santiago's status in the division up in the air once again.
Why should you care?
This is a PPV fight you're getting for free folks, and it's full of intrigue. Maia's a submission fighter, yet Santiago's never been submitted. Santiago's biggest weakness is his chin, but Maia doesn't hit very hard. If Maia goes old school and grapples, this could be an epic fight. If they duke it out on the feet, it might not live up to expectations.
You can catch morepreview content from Bloody Elbow after the jump.