The UFC confirmed Friday that Demain Maia, five time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, will square off against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.
Top contender Chael Sonnen was unavailable after his recent grueling fight with Nate Marquardt. Maia, who fought on the same card as Sonnen, is apparently ready however to step up against possibly the best pound for pound fighter in the UFC.
Some fight fans are questioning Maia’s entitlement to this championship fight despite his 12-1 UFC record which includes a submission win over top contender Sonnen. Maia’s only loss came to Marquardt whose recent loss to Sonnen is fresh in everyone’s minds. UFC fights are all about style match-ups though and Maia was caught early in his fight with Marquardt and unable to recover.
However, Maia presents a unique challenge to Silva’s long championship run. It will quite likely be the first time Silva faces a fighter with better Brazilian jiu-jitsu than him. Silva is nick-named “the spider” for his difficulty to defend jiu-jitsu moves stemming from his long arms and legs. Demian Maia is a five-time world champion at jiu-jitsu and most would agree the better submission specialist.
While “the spider” has excellent takedown defense and may well be able to keep the fight standing, sometimes nationalistic pride takes over. Silva may be interested in testing his submission skills against the talented Maia in an effort to prove his championship to his Brazilian fans.
While Vitor Belfort provided an interesting stand-up challenge to the champion, Demian Maia presents an equally interesting jiu-jitsu challenge. UFC fans will have to watch this fight closely as it could very well end early.