Demian Maia and Jake Shields will square off at UFC Fight Night 29, in a battle of two of the best grapplers in the 170lb. division. Maia is looking solid at Welterweight, riding a three fight win streak and holding a record of 18-4.
Shields is coming off an unimpressive (BS) victory over Tyron Woodley at UFC 161, after three rounds of not much action Shields was awarded a split decision win. The match up with Maia was somewhat unexpected, and a lot of fans are writing Shields off ahead of this scrap.
As I mentioned before, this fight features two of the premiere MMA grapplers; Shields is a BJJ black belt and an ADCC/Pan American medallist, Maia is an ADCC world champion, a fourth degree black belt in BJJ and holds a 50 percent submission ratio.
A burning question for me ahead of this fight is ‘will this be a snoozefest?’ Well, we know that neither Shields nor Maia offer much in the way of knockout power; Maia’s TKO wins have come in the way of two injuries and one actual TKO. Shields holds three TKO wins, although all have come in the form of Ben Askren-esque grind outs.
You could quite easily make the argument that both Shields and Maia have very similar styles to Yushin Okami. ‘Thunder’ was recently axed by the UFC and the common opinion is that it happened because of his boring style. So why make a match up between two guys that has the potential to be a very stale bout?
With two high level grapplers like Maia and Shields, it could turn in to a tedious clinch fest. The chances are that neither man wants to test the others ground game in fear of being submitted. I’d also wager a bet that if this should happen, the loser will be given their walking papers.
Considering the current climate of cutting fighters, should the UFC really be making such potentially lame fights? It seems that Joe Silva may have done a better job here; especially considering the overflowing Welterweight division he had to choose from.
Then again I could be wrong. Maia and Shields could put on a world class display of grappling, or a kickboxing clinic. Then Uncle Dana and Chael Sonnen would shower third world children with Tapout T-Shirts and corn nuts. You get the point.
Then comes the question of how it affects the rankings, and the answer is ‘meh’. Even if Shields does win, which I think he won’t, he just isn’t well rounded enough to deal with the top end of the division.
Maia stands to gain pretty much nothing except a W if he is victorious, although four on the bounce at WW is very impressive. Overall, I don’t think this match up should have been made.