Tonight’s UFC Fight Night 29 features a pair of pivotal welterweight showdowns in the card’s two main bouts. In the headlining fight, No. 5-ranked Demian Maia looks to keep his undefeated record in the division against former title challenger Jake Shields. In the co-main, rising prospect Erick Silva looks to make a statement against a tough veteran in Dong Hyun Kim. Check out our LowKick MMA staff predictions!
Demian Maia vs. Jake Shields
Mike Drahota: Obviously this bout has the potential to be one of the highest-level Jiu-jitsu matches in MMA history if it hits the mat. Both fighters are top-flight grapplers with long lists of accomplishments and submissions to their name. However, when two fighters are so good at the same thing, it often turns into a boring standup match. Neither fighter is particularly respected for their striking skills here, but I have to give Maia the slight edge. The fashion in which he throttled Jon Fitch earlier this year makes me think he can do the same to Shields. Maia via unanimous decision.
Rory Kernaghan: I might have got a bit ahead of myself when I said that Maia vs. Shields would be a snoozefest, but hey, I can admit when I'm wrong. I actually expect this to be a very interesting bout, but not from a grappling point of view. Jake Shields and Demian Maia are top level grapplers, but I expect Maia to surprise Shields with some solid striking. I also think that Maia's grappling will be too much for Shields. Shields' disadvantage in the striking department will mean he will push for the takedowns, and I think that Maia will sprawl and brawl, eventually sinking in a tight front choke. Maia by submission deep in round two.
Brian Cox: Regarding Demian Maia and Jake Shields, I’m sure that what can be said about the one, can be said about the other. I see this bout as exceptionally well matched. I doubt seriously that this will be a ground fight and if it is, I think the two cancel one another out. Regarding the stand-up, I give the nod to Maia, but it’s not a blowout. Jake’s stand-up, although not great, has improved over the years and was certainly good enough to make a mess of GSP’s face, so, Maia will need to respect it. All things considered, I think this bout is a bad match-up stylistically and could end up being a boring affair. Sadly, as I really like and respect both fighters, I’m going to have to give the nod to Demian Maia by split decision.
Erick Silva vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Mike Drahota: Silva is one of the best up-and-coming prospects in the UFC; the Brazilian has shown a penchant for extreme violence and alarmingly quick finishing ability. His hype train was kind of brought back down to earth when he was ground out against the ultimate grinder in Fitch. I think Silva needs to show that he can hang with wrestlers if he wants to compete in the UFC welterweight division; this is probably why he’s been matched up with another grinder like Kim. The Korean grappler can take away all your strengths in the cage, so if Silva can get loose and unleash his vicious Muay Thai, he’ll be ready for the top fighters at 170-pounds. I don’t think he is quite yet. Kim puts us to sleep with another decision.
Rory Kernaghan: Erick Silva is a fighter that I've had my eye on for a while, and for good reason; the kid is a beast. Kim Dong-Hyun is a very tough competitor also, and the two have similar records, so the match up seems to be a good one. I'm actually going to go ahead and call this one my lock for FOTN. I expect a back and forth war on the feet and a chess match on the mat. Silva and Kim are both amazing grapplers and clinical strikers, expect a barn burner in this one. I expect a tired Kim to succumb to a late third round rally by Silva. Silva by TKO (elbows) round three.
Brian Cox: In terms of the co-main, I expect the fight to be a grind more than anything else. My guess is that Erick Silva will be looking to take Dong Hyun Kim down, but I believe he’ll have a tough time doing it and will be forced to stand with “Stun Gun”. However and to the point, even if Silva does get him down, Kim has never been submitted or grounded out in a fight. Kim is a tough fighter and a hard one to put away; I’m going to have to go with Dong Hyun Kim, by way of unanimous decision.