In the main event at today's UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields, two grapplers go hold for hold as Demian Maia (18-4 MMA; 12-4 UFC) takes on Jake Shields (28-6-1(1) MMA; 3-2(1) UFC. The official UFC rankings have Maia as the #4 contender at Welterweight, while Shields is unranked. UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields airs live from Brazil on Fox Sports 1 this Wednesday, October 9 with the main card starting at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
This is an interesting stylistic match-up. Both Shields and Maia are very accomplished grapplers who have used that grappling very well in MMA. If the two choose to engage in a grappling battle, it could be fantastic. And lately, that's the game Maia has played, so I'm optimistic. Of course, they do both also have past tendencies to utilize their less developed striking games. If this turns into a kickboxing match, it may not be pretty.
How do these two stack up?
Maia: 35 years old | 6'0" | 72" reach
Shields: 34 years old | 6'0" | 72" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Demian Maia is one of the best examples of how a change in weight can revitalize your career. After a hot start to his UFC career in 2007, Maia began to flounder at Middleweight, going on an uninspired 4-4 run. Then he dropped down to 170 and the results have been phenomenal. He's undefeated in the division and coming off a huge win over Jon Fitch. One of the most accomplished submission artists in UFC history, Maia has gone back to his grappling roots recently and has looked great. He's now knocking on the door of a title shot - something that didn't seem possible just one year ago.
Jake Shields came into the UFC on a massive win streak that saw him reach great heights in Striekforce and EliteXC. But his UFC career has been pretty clearly a bust. He has 3 wins, but only the victory over Akiyama was definitive and without controversy. At the same time, he's been KO'd by Jake Ellenberger, failed a drug test, and overall been unable to show the grappling skills that brought him success outside of the Octagon. It's do or die time for this long time Cesar Gracie student.
Why should you care?
If you like grappling, this could be a very cool, technical fight. Plus, Maia has been just on fire lately, and I'm excited to see how he does here in Brazil.
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