The UFC 156 event scheduled for Las Vegas, Nevada on Super Bowl weekend has a welterweight match between Jon Fitch and Demian Maia that should move the winner that much closer to a title shot. The odds makers have not chimed in on a line for this bout yet, but it should be close to a pick ‘em fight, as both men proved they are near the top of their division already with impressive, stand out wins in their most recent octagon appearances. Though both men have ground based games, Maia is more of a finisher, which is going to force Fitch to fight a certain way. Let’s take a look at this fight….
This is a solid step up match for Maia at 170 lbs. His first match against ‘Stun Gun’ Kim went less than a minute and ended in a fluke injury win, but he dominated well regarded Rick Story in his second outing in the weight class, submitting him in the opening round. Story may have been a little overrated, and Fitch will certainly be a tougher test for Maia.
Fitch needed a good performance in his last outing against Erick Silva and he got it, showing heightened aggression overall, and a solid ground game where he was attempting finishes.
But interestingly, Maia and Silva are very different animals, and Maia may have the tools to give Fitch problems if Fitch plays the game he did with Silva. Silva is aggressive and good on his feet, while Maia is a methodical ground fighter you do not want to be on the ground with.
Fitch will have wrestling on his side, and may want to keep this one on it’s feet. It is a toss up as to who is more effective in the stand up, Maia or Fitch, though Fitch loved to throw down earlier in his career. If Fitch is losing the stand up game, he may be in trouble, because a takedown with Maia brings you to his world.
Maia also fizzled out at 185 lbs, showing that he is not championship caliber there. He is in his mid thirties, and the 170 lb championship must seem to him like his chance at UFC gold and the riches that lie there. He is a cerebral fighter who will come in with a game plan, and he can adapt to what FItch brings, especially if it is a ground fight. Unless the line comes in as something completely off the wall with Maia heavily favored, Maia is the pick in this fight.