This is an interesting fight as it pairs two men who were, at one time, near the top of the division, but are now looking to rebuild. Kim was undefeated and ready to make a run up the ranks when he was knocked out by Carlos Condit last year. Maia is a former Middleweight title challenger who now makes his debut in the Welterweight division. This will be a good step up for the winner, and a bad setback for the loser.
How do these two stack up?
Kim: 30 years old | 6'1" | 76" reach Maia: 34 years old | 6'0" | 72" reach
Korea's Stun Gun Dong Hyun Kim started his MMA career impressively, going undefeated in his first 16 fights. After a dominating win over Nate Diaz he looked to be just one big win away from the upper echelon of the Welterweight division. Then, last summer, he suffered his first loss in the form of a spectacular Carlos Condit flying knee KO, and all that momentum vanished. He's had one win since then. For some reason, Kim has always seemed to get lost in the shuffle at 170, and a big win here would really help him.
Like Kim, Demian Maia also started his career with a big undefeated streak, winning 11 straight, including a submission win over Chael Sonnen. And like Kim, his first loss came via KO, this time at the hands of Nate Marquardt. Since that loss, Maia has really struggled. He's moved far away from his superb jiu jitsu roots, and now prefers to kickbox his opponents. That's earned him both mixed results (he's 4-3 since the Marquardt KO) and a lot of fan negativity, as his last two fights have both been heavily booed. He's hoping a drop down to Welterweight will be the spark he needs. He's desperately in need of not just a win here, but a stoppage.
Why should you care?
I'll be honest - this has real potential to be boring. But with the move down to Welterweight, I'm willing to give Maia one last shot. Perhaps he can show the brilliant ground work that earned him a shot at Anderson Silva. If he does, this will be fun. If not, expect the boos once again.
More UFC 148 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.
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