UFC 156 fight card primer: Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow presents their UFC 156 fight card primer, previewing all the action at the UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar PPV. Here, we look at Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia in the Welterweight division.

Two former title contenders meet at UFC 156 as Jon Fitch (24-4-1(1) MMA; 14-2-1 UFC) faces Demian Maia (17-4 MMA; 11-4 UFC). This Welterweight fight is the second of five PPV main card fights. UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar airs live from Las Vegas this Saturday night, February 2, with the PPV main card beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT.

Both Fitch and Maia have been in title contention before, losing to Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva respectively. They've both spent the past few years trying to get back to that title shot, though have never quite made it. This will be a big step in that direction for the winner - a hard step back for the loser. And with both men in their mid-30s, it may be a tough step back to recover from. This is also an example of one of MMA's classic style battles - wrestling vs. jiu jitsu.

How do these two stack up?

Fitch: 34 years old | 6'0" | 74" reach
Maia: 35 years old | 6'0" | 72" reach

What have these two done recently?

Fitch: W - Erick Silva (UD) | L - Johny Hendricks (KO) | D - B.J. Penn (Maj. Draw)
Maia: W - Rick Story (Sub) | W - Dong Hyun Kim (TKO) | L - Chris Weidman (UD)

How did these two get here?

Jon Fitch is the epitome of the hard working, grinding wrestler. He is a master at just wearing his opponents down. That style has not earned him many fans, and in his last outing, he seemed out to change the perception of him as a boring fighter, putting the pressure on Erick Silva in a great fight. Prior to that fight, he hadn't won in over two years, with a draw to Pen, a heavy KO loss to Hendricks, and a fair amount of time off. Fitch is now in his 11th year as a pro - if he wants another run at the belt, it has to be now, though he should never be overlooked as a tough opponent.

More on UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar

Demian Maia is a superb jiu jitsu fighter, who started his career with a great 11-0 run at Middleweight. But after a KO loss to Nate Marquardt, and a humbling performance against Anderson Silva, he gave up on his jiu jitsu and adopt a very dull, uninspiring kickboxing style. A bad loss to Weidman last year prompted him to drop down to Welterweight, which has seemed to reignite the old spark. He's 2-0 at 170, with a pair of impressive performances, including his first submission in 10 fights. Maia is fighting like the man who won submission of the night honors in 4 of his first 5 UFC fights, and that's a good thing. He is most definitely a sudden contender in this division.

Why should you care?

This is another close, great fight at UFC 156. Very hard to call this one, and the ground battle between these two men could be ferocious.

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