Herman may be a mid-carder now but at the time he was on a three-fight winning streak and seen as a tough draw for all, especially against an opponent most viewed as no more than a one-dimensional newcomer. Though the assessment was fair to an extent, dismissing Maia’s core discipline would be foolish, as his submission game is a step above the rest. In the second stanza Maia locked up a Triangle Choke and put Herman to sleep, scoring his second instance of success under the UFC banner. In truth, Maia’s meeting with Grove was a fairly forgettable affair. However, the win was notable because it started to show Maia was attempting to balance out his attack by displaying some rudimentary stand-up rather than relying on his ground game. For the first time Maia was happy to keep things upright, and though it may have been ugly he was at least effective enough to score the judges’ favor. Maia’s welterweight unveiling resulted in a victory albeit one based in large part on a mid-match injury to Chan Sung Jung. The brilliant Brazilian would leave no question of his potential as a 170er in his next clash, grabbing hold of the always-tough Story early on and tapping him out with a Neck Crank less than three minutes into the affair. The loss is the only submission stumble of Story’s career. Sure, Sonnen’s submission defense has never been his bright spot. In fact, it’s proven itself to be rather dull more than once. Such an instance came against Maia before the smack-spewing Sonnen had established his current persona, serving as little more than a hard-nosed wrestler with relentless takedowns and top control. After an early takedown, Sonnen found himself caught in a Triangle Choke and had to tap a few ticks after the midway point of the first frame. Recently, Sonnen reflected on his meeting with Maia while assessing the Shields scrap, stating, “I’ve been in the ring with Demian Maia. He’s aggressive and his pressure is unbelievable.” For almost a decade Fitch was a measuring stick at 170 pounds. His record in the division was only second to Georges St-Pierre’s, beating almost nearly every up-and-coming contender the UFC had to offer. His last clash in the Octagon before being unceremoniously released came against Maia on the heels of a Fight of the Night win over Erick Silva. However, from the resulting rumble, fans might have thought Fitch had been replaced by a clone as he had no answer for Maia’s grappling. The ensuing outpointing wasn’t quite as impressive as the one GSP scored over Fitch but it was a fine performance showing Maia was a legitimate force at welterweight and should be for the next few years.
There are a significant number of MMA fans who feel
UFC welterweight Demian Maia (18-4) could secure a shot at the title currently around ’s waist if he’s able to get by Georges St-Pierre Jake Shields (28-6-1) next week. The two talented grapplers are set to headline , giving the Brazilian crowd a bout sure to feature some slick exchanges on the ground given both competitors’ familiarity with BJJ. Though no outcome is guaranteed in the Octagon, Maia has been in some major match-ups before and risen to the occasion more often than not. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC Fight Night 29