Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
(7-0, 3-0 UFC) meets (16-3, 9-3 UFC)
Weidman recently entered the middleweight USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings, and sits at number 21 currently. Maia has been a staple of the rankings for three years now, and sits in the number 6 spot. A win by Weidman will rocket him up the standings and likely see him crack the top 10. Maia probably isn't going to gain much rankings-wise from this win, but it's still an extremely tough test for him. This middleweight fight will be the first fight of the main card and will be aired live on Fox. The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
How do these two stack up?
Weidman: 27 years old | 6'2" | 76" reach
Maia: 34 years old | 6'0" | 72" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Chris Weidman is a two-time NCAA Division 1 All-American in wrestling, and has shown great promise in his brief MMA career to date. In just his third pro fight, he knocked out Uriah Hall to win the Ring of Combat middleweight title. After another decision win later in the year, Weidman was brought into replace Rafael Natal and took on veteran Alessio Sakara at UFC on Versus 3, where won a 30-27 decision. He was again a late replacement at UFC 131, where he submitted Jesse Bongfeldt with a brutal standing guillotine at the end of the first round. He then took on tough veteran Tom Lawlor at UFC 139, and in his most impressive win to date, he put Lawlor completely to sleep with a tight D'Arce choke. He steps up on late notice once again here, and has had just one month to prepare for a top-five middleweight.
Demian Maia was a superstar grappler and ADCC winner who switched over to MMA and quickly earned a shot in the UFC. It didn't take long for him to rise to elite status, winning five bouts in a row by submission and picking up four submission of the night bonuses in the process (the last of which was over fellow UFC on Fox 2 competitor Chael Sonnen). He suffered a major setback after being stopped by just one Nate Marquardt punch, but two fights later he was in the cage with Anderson Silva, fighting for the UFC middleweight championship at UFC 112. The bout was bizarre to say the least, and Maia dropped a decision. He has rebounded from that with three wins in his last four fights (his only loss coming to Mark Munoz), and a win over Weidman here would further cement his spot amongst the contenders at 185.
Why should you care?
No one expected Weidman to be in this position so quickly. Is he already capable of beating top guys, or will Maia give him the first setback of his career? This bout has interesting written all over it.
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