The October 9th event, UFC Fight Night 29, has a man event set as welterweights Demian Maia and Jake Shields face off in a battle of two fighters whose strong points are on the floor. Both men are sometimes labelled ‘methodical’ (that means boring), so the UFC is running a real risk of presenting a snoozer as a main event. Both guys are grappling studs, which in a worst case scenario could lead to a stalemate. Nevertheless, both fighters are at different points in their UFC careers, and both need a win in this fight.
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Shields has been on a wholly unimpressive 2-2-1 run in the UFC. Even in his wins, he has been methodical and shown a lack of ability to finish a fight. His airtight grappling and control make him a threat to dominate anyone, but he is down the list of contenders are concerned.
Maia is 3-0 since dropping down to welterweight. In his last outing, he thoroughly dominated another top notch grappler in Jon Fitch, effectively escorting Fitch out of the UFC. Maia looks for the finish, but against a grappler like Shields (and without a gi in MMA) Maia is unlikely to finish this fight with a submission. This could lead to the stalemate that we all fear.
Maia will have a chance to win a standup fight. Shields is a mechanical striker who does not string together combinations and he has little diversity in his strikes. Maia will be a little longer and taller, and has a chance to potentially use kicks and punches to eanr a decision. It would be better if the two just fought standing rather than go to the ground where things are going to slow down.
The match shows that Maia is still climbing, but is not in the true title picture yet, so he needs to keep winning. More than anything, he could use a decisive finish. If Maia achieves that, Shields could be the second high level grappler in a row that Maia sees out the UFC door.