Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia Set For UFC 170


Rory “Ares” MacDonald was supposed to be the heir apparent to his training partner Georges St. Pierre’s UFC welterweight crown. Unfortunately for “Ares,” however, Robbie Lawler didn’t get the memo, smashing MacDonald en route to a split decision victory at UFC 167 last month.

In an odd twist of events, MacDonald actually overtook Lawler in the rankings this week. He should be miles behind “Ruthless” in terms of actual title contention. MacDonald is still very young and very talented but he will have a bigger mountain to climb back towards title contention,

It appears that his first test has been set. MacDonald will face Brazilian jiu-jitsu wiz Demian Maia at February 22’s UFC 170 from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The fight was teased on this week’s edition of “UFC Tonight,” and made official prior to UFC Fight Night 33 last night.

Maia recently made a successful cut down to 170 pounds after fighting at middleweight for several years, defeating Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story and Jon Fitch in dominant fashion.

But Maia ran into a roadblock of his own when he was smothered by fellow grappling ace Jake Shields in the main event of UFC Fight Night 29 in October. In another strange set of rankings circumstances, the number six-ranked Maia actually sits above number seven Shields. It’s hard to explain why two fighters who just lost fights that weren’t that close are ranked above the men who beat them, but that’s a different discussion for another time.

UFC 170 is shaping up to be yet another blockbuster event from the UFC, featuring a headliner between former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and Daniel Cormier. “DC” is making his first cut down to 205 pounds, so it will very interesting to see how that plays out. A tantalizing lightweight scrap between under-the-radar contenders Rafael dos Anjos and Rustam Khabilov is also set to go down at the event.

What are your thoughts on MacDonald’s next fight? It is definitely not an easy tune-up fight in any sense of the term. Will “Ares” get back on track against decorated mat technician Maia?

  • Tough match up stylistically for both guys. Rory could be in trouble if it goes to the ground, it depends on wether or not Rory regains the fire he has been lacking in his last couple of fights.

  • I seen the Shields fight and it made me wonder if Maia was as good as I thought. I'm chalking that up to a bad night. I think Maia is a force at 170 and with this matchup I think he'll show it. He's going to get Rory Mac down and when he does it's going to be a long night or short night for Rory

    • Maia is as good as you think. What most overlooked is that Maia's forte is also Shield's forte and Shields is also that good. If Shieds developed power to his shots and Maia used his stand up game more which is far better than he seems to think himself rather than relying on his Jitz too much both of these fighters could potentially wear UFC gold. But then there are so many right now at WW who have that potential. I personally regard Condit as the next heir to GSP and the clear #2 in the division but there are many names who would be no surprise to see them one day wearing the strap.

      • Also consider when Maia was getting the better of Shields he underestimated the transition tricks that Jake possesed and took risks he may not have if he knew better. I honestly believe that Maia would beat Jake in another fight. There were a few times that Maia had great positions that he earned only to give them away by taking foolish risks in transition where he could have played it safe. Just look at R1 and you can see that the better Grappler is Maia but he took stupid risks when transitioning probably to try and look awesome and slip a slik trick on Jake to show his supremacy. Jake is really good but Maia is better just did not do what he should have and that was stick to his basics with a guy like Shields and work on maintaining position supremacy over cool tricks that you think are out of your opponents league.

      • I think you have it backwards. Maia thinks his stand-up is better than it really is. When he loses focus of his jiu-jitsu/grappling he becomes a mediocre fighter.

        His takedowns are already some of the best. He needs to train wrestling to complement his grappling game. In the Shields fight for example, that was the discriminator, Jake was a better wrestler.

        His standup is good enough now where he should be focusing on wrestling/grappling. He is a jiu-jitsu God when he is focused on it.

        • Maia was able to beat Jakes wrestling at the beginning but Jakes wrestling did him justice in a few areas where Maia did not stick to basic position dominance as his first need. I agree that Maia thinks his stand up is better than it is but his problems were not Jakes wrestling until he decided to play a foolish game of crazy cool moves over holding dominant positions. Jakes wrestling did nothing until Maia went for something stupid.

          • True that. Maia looked sloppy. My point is that I think he is well-rounded enough now where he needs to shift his focus back to grappling. With some wrestling, he can start dictating where the fight goes in order to implement his grappling game.

          • Well I true that as well. It wouldn't hurt.

  • Ugh, this could be a snooze fest guys. Think about it, Rory is going to come in a lot like Silva did vs. Maia, keep it on the feet at range, and don't even think about going to the ground. Maia hasn't developed his striking enough to threaten Rory on the feet. This in my opinion, will be a one-sided decision for Rory.

  • Yep. Rory will keep it standing and it will be pretty uneventful between the two. Maia's standup is very limited.

  • I see Maia taking a second round submission victory here.

  • No way! Sure if it hit the floor, but maiA can't get him down

  • The Rory hype train has well and truly derailed….Noone is even asking if he wants nto fight GSP anymore because it is an irrelevant conversation. Rory needs a spectacular KO and nothing less to get fans to take notice again…

    • Rory is somewhat off the last few fights…Could simply be he's not ready for top 5 competition.