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UFC 153 fight card primer: Demian Maia vs. Rick Story

The opening bout of the UFC 153 main card features an intriguing welterweight battle between a grinder and a technician. On one side of the cage you have a former middleweight title challenger who has been known for his incredible BJJ skills, but has quietly evolved into a fully well-rounded competitor. On the other side, you have a mean and nasty bully of a man that constantly comes forward, looking to throw you on the mat or punch you in the belly 25 times in a row. Demian Maia (16-4, 10-4 UFC) faces off with Rick Story (14-5, 7-3 UFC).

Maia is currently ranked at number 14 in the Bloody Elbow MMA Rankings despite just one fight in the weight class, while Story sits at number 16. This welterweight bout can be viewed on the pay per view portion of UFC 153 which kicks off at 10 p.m ET/7 p.m. PT.

How do these two stack up?

Maia: 34 years old | '6'0" | 72" reach
Story: 28 years old | 5'10" | 71" reach

What have these two done recently?

Maia: W - Dong Hyun Kim (TKO) | L - Chris Weidman (UD) W - Jorge Santiago (UD)
Story: W - Brock Jardine (UD) | L - Martin Kampmann (UD) | L - Charlie Brenneman (UD)

How did these two get here?

Demian Maia burst onto the UFC scene at middleweight back in 2007 by reeling off five straight submission victories and proving to be the best ground fighter in the division at the time. Since then though, he has quietly rounded out his game and is fairly formidable on the feet as well. He finally decided to drop to welterweight after a loss to Chris Weidman, and got back to his grappling ways immediately in his 170 debut against Dong Hyun Kim. Unfortunately Kim got injured very early in the fight and the bout was called off. Maia got the win, but he's got something to prove against Story here tonight.

Rick Story's UFC debut didn't go so well (a decision loss to John Hathaway), but his steady ascension in the division afterwards was quite remarkable. Six straight wins over the likes of current top contender Johny Hendricks and longtime contender Thiago Alves had him in the top ten and got him a main event bout against Nate Marquardt, but that's when the wheels came off. Marqardt was pulled from the bout at the last second and wrestler Charlie Brenneman picked up a win over him. A loss in his next bout to Martin Kampmann set him back even further. After a win over Brock Jardine, Story is looking to reclaim his top spot with a huge win over Maia.

Why should you care?

Really? This is an excellent style clash to open a pretty good PPV card. I shouldn't have to tell you why you should care. You just should, dammit.

More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC 153:

UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar fight card - Mookie Alexander

UFC 153 betting lines - Tim Burke

UFC 153 Bloody Elbow staff picks and predictions - Tim Burke

Minotauro Nogueira vs. Dave Herman Dissection - Dallas Winston

Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado Dissection - Dallas Winston

Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva Dissection - Dallas Winston

Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado Dissection - Dallas Winston

Demian Maia vs. Rick Story Dissection - Dallas Winston

FX prelim card previews - Fraser Coffeen

Video: UFC 153 weigh-in results

Silva vs. Bonnar through the Cobb vs. Holmes lens - Brent Brookhouse

Can Bonnar make his name against Silva? - Fraser Coffeen

Erick Silva discusses Jon Fitch - Tim Burke

Anderson Silva: 5 signature moves - Jack Slack

Video: Countdown to UFC 153