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Mission Impossible: Abu Dhabi

Demian Maia, your mission should you decide to accept it, is to terminate the longest UFC winning streak of all time by defeating the greatest UFC middleweight of all time.

Frankie Edgar, your mission should you decide to accept it, is to dethrone the most dominant and naturally gifted lightweight in MMA history.

As always, should either one of you get caught by a blistering right hand, a crippling knee, or a stifling rear naked choke, the UFC will promote all footage of your actions. This tape will self-destruct… well, you get the point.

Much like the iconic 70’s TV show of the same name, UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi plays host this weekend to a small team of highly trained operatives attempting to take down two brutal kingpins against seemingly impossible odds. The brutal kingpins are of course UFC middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva and UFC lightweight champion B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn. Both have carved out legendary careers by absolutely obliterating anyone who dared challenge their divisional supremacy.

Rarely do we see a UFC event headlined by two red-hot 8 to 1 favorites and only once in a blue moon do we actually witness such favorites getting beaten. So, can heavy underdogs Maia and Edgar really pull off the unthinkable and achieve a duo of upsets like never before seen in UFC history? (Without relying on elaborate deceptions, hidden cameras, radio controlled referees, etc). Well, it’s not impossible.

Let’s start with Maia. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu wiz finds himself in the unique position of challenging for UFC middleweight gold, despite being stopped in his tracks by Nate Marquardt just two fights ago. With Silva’s original opponent Vitor Belfort and back-up opponent Chael Sonnen both succumbing to injuries, fortune indeed appears to have smiled upon the Sao Paulo native.

The bad news is he’ll be facing arguably the greatest striker to ever strap on a pair of MMA gloves. A man so good, he routinely makes world class fighters look plain ordinary. It appears a foregone conclusion that Maia will get knocked out unless he can get it to the canvas pronto. There, armed with a cache of ultra-slick submissions, he at least stands a grapplers chance. The problem is, although he possesses tidy trips and effective scrambles, scoring a takedown against Silva has proven notoriously difficult without first being served an eight-limbed Thai style beat down. And even if Maia does manage to bring the fight south, he’ll still have to deal with Silva’s oft-overlooked but very deadly ground game.

Simply put, Maia’s only chance of flying out of the desert the newly crowned UFC Middleweight Champion is to somehow pull off a miraculous submission of “Ryo Chonan” proportions.

That brings us to Edgar. Seldom have we seen such a high-quality fighter appear to be so completely outgunned. That’s a testament to the brilliance of Penn, who’s miles ahead of the rest of his division. The reigning lightweight champion was so dominant against Diego Sanchez in his last title defence, it prompted UFC boss Dana White to comment on Sanchez, “He’s about as busted up as I’ve ever seen a guy.”

So coming into the fight, Edgar looks to be left with two decidedly unpleasant choices. Either attempt to take Penn down and try his luck rolling with one of the most highly-skilled grapplers to ever grace the Octagon, or test his boxing skills against a man who possesses superior timing, accuracy and punching power. Both options seem a virtual death sentence, on paper anyway.

His one and only glimmer of hope may be to utilize his crisp striking and strong wrestling in the clinch, à la Georges St.Pierre, to wear down and out-hustle the champion. No easy task against a guy who has the definite edge in…well, pretty much everything.

Mission Impossible? There’s no such thing. Just ask a 42 to 1 underdog named James “Buster” Douglas.

  • Dufresne says:

    I’m just praying we don’t see Maia go with a Leites style game plan and just flop on his back for 5 rounds. Also hopping Edgar doesn’t do the Florian “I’m gonna lean on you for 4 rounds” technique.

  • Guthookd says:

    Man, I am so stoked to see A. Silva fight again. I hope he gets challenged this time. I want to see some wobbles and some close calls, at least. Come on Maia……do something spectacular.

    I am also hoping that Edgar/Penn is a competitive fight. I’ve hear that Frankie is training like never before so you never know, he might surprize us.

    However it works out….WAR!

  • inkythewinky says:

    i have a feeling edgar is going to win via desc. ……but yea maia is in mission impossible

  • MickeyC says:

    I do not have much hope for Mia. But if Edgar uses his westling he at least has a chance. He needs to fight him like George did. Take down-Take down-Take down

  • blue says:

    Personally, I cannot imagine any scenario in which Maia would choose to stand in the ‘striking range’ with Silva. He’ll either be way out of range or shooting\trying for a takedown. This has the makings of being a boring fight, although technically ‘appreciable’.

  • blue says:

    On the contrary, I think BJ’s far superior ground fighting makes for exciting fights as the majority of his opponents elect to fight BJ Penn on their feet. And BJ loves to duke it out with any of them on his feet and he has quickness and power.

    Edgar is in big trouble, just like any other fighter at 155 pounds.

  • Niv says:

    Even though Maia is coming off a disastrous loss a to Marquardt a couple of fights ago, I think his assets are the greatest threat to Silva.

    Maia never ceased being possibly the best bjj practitioner in the UFC and Silva’s long limbs can still be manipulated.

    If Maia can get the Spider to the ground this will truly be a fight to watch closely. However if Maia can’t close that distance he’s going to get owned in ugly fashion.

    As for Penn vs Edgar, the usual here another good lightweight with promise is going to get raped in the octagon by Penn. Penn has no competition in his weight class, but has very few prospects in the next class, so he has no choice but to stay put.

  • Niv says:

    I would like to amend one comment, Maia’s assets are the second biggest threat to Silva after a healthy Belfort. Belfort has all the requisite skill sets including stand up and a good ground game to beat the champ, only time will tell if it will happen though.

  • xtreme_machine says:

    Silva bigger treat standing up is Vitor Belfort

    And Silva’s biggest treat on the ground is Mia

    so if he can get past both men he should move up and go for the LHW title because Sonnen will try and hold him down for 25 mins but will eventually get caught
    maybe Bone Jones vs Silva

    As for BJ well only Aldo can touch him

  • Dufresne says:

    I do not have much hope for Mia. But if Edgar uses his westling he at least has a chance. He needs to fight him like George did. Take down-Take down-Take down  

    The only problem with that is that GSP is MUCH bigger than Edgar. Edgar is a small 155, even BJ is a full 3 inches taller than him and BJ isn’t exactly Goliath (other than skill wise) down at 155.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    I think Maia is in a much better place to win here than he would be if Nate hadn’t knocked him out.
    Now he knows it can happen and I hope it is a much better fight than if he was undefeated and feeling like he was invincible.
    Edgar is a favorite of mine and he always seems to do the right things at the right time. He is as tough as they come and his submission defense shouldn’t be a problem here as he trains with some halfway decent grapplers himself. I see a carbon copy of his fight with Sherk here- a great stand-up affair except this time he is facing a superior striker with a reach advantage.two great fights that I believe can truly go either way.

  • MickeyC says:

    I do not have much hope for Mia. But if Edgar uses his westling he at least has a chance. He needs to fight him like George did. Take down-Take down-Take down  (Quote)

    I did not say I think Edgar will win. But that he has a better chance than Mia at a victory,

  • Makington says:

    I’m going to have to agree with Dufresne. Florian proved that you literally have to be GSP for that gameplan to work. When BJ is the bigger one as opposed to the much smaller one he is wasting tons less energy, which will make it almost impossible to tire out the new, better conditioned Penn. As we have seen with every single LW fight BJ has had, he is easily the hardest guy to get on the ground.

    I love me some Frankie Edgar, but this is probably the worst time to face BJ. A couple years ago I would have picked Frankie to beat the unmotivated BJ, but he looks unstoppable right now.

    I also really hope that Dana has given Maia a talking to and made it clear how much the crowd hated Thales Leites after his title shot. That fight basically was the reason he got booted from the UFC. No one would ever pay to see him fight for a title again. He went from main event to undercard immediately. If I see Maia getting knocked down from invisible punches then I’ll be pissed.

  • elkymbo says:

    I STILL can’t believe that we’re watching Silva vs Maia. The biggest threat to Silva in the division is Nate the Great. And another thing….two losers fighting for the title? What the fuck?

  • elkymbo says:

    Oh yeah and to the UFC stop piss farting around and get Shinya Aoki on the case against B.J.

  • Rece Rock says:

    elkymbo- Shinya Aoki doesn’t want to fight in the UFC… matter of fact he doesn’t even think the UFC product would do well in Japan.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I don’t see any upsets happening in abu dhabi but who knows….

  • redwire says:

    elkymbo says: The biggest threat to Silva in the division is Nate the Great. And another thing….

    I would have agreed to that before the Marquart/Sonnen fight, however, I think that Hendo’s first round against Silva showed the way to winning, and Chael might be the best guy to follow through with that strategy.

  • MickeyC says:

    to the 14 posers thar gave me the thumbs down about edgar winning, you don’tknow s*#¤t!!!ha,ha!

  • inkythewinky says:

    hahaha me too!!! i called that sh..!!!

  • Makington says:

    You were right Mikey, Edgar won just like GSP did using takedown, takedown, and takedown!

    oh wait…


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