The UFC Fight Night 29 card is scheduled for Sao Paulo, Brazil on October 9th and the event represents the next non-reality show UFC fights on the schedule. The event is headlined by Jiu Jitsu specialists Demian Maia and Jake Shields. The UFC has had a lot of cards in Brazil in the last eighteen months, and the Brazilians have established that it is a hard place to go and win. Though some non Brazilian fighters have broken through with a win in Brazil, there are not that many of them, and the record in the main and co-main events of cards is downright woeful.
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Right now, the sportbooks are acknowledging that, posting Maia as the favorite at (-270) with the comeback on Shields sitting at (+225). This is interesting, because as far as skill sets go, both fighters are very similar. Both are Jiu Jitsu black belts and masters of position and control, with Maia showing more of a finishing touch than Shields. On the feet, both are limited but evolving, with Maia showing greater strides in the stand up game. These advantages to for Maia are significant, but they do not add up to being favored nearly 3 to 1.
But the home court is a big advantage. Among Brazil’s elite fighters, it is considered a point of honor to defend the turf, and that is important when it comes to establishing a killer instinct. An emotional and hyped up Maia is Demian at his most dangerous.
Shields was once considered one of the best in the world, but win or lose, every time he enters the octagon his stock takes a dip. He at times has seemed to lack fire, and at 34 years old, he is unlikely to change his ways or his style of fighting. Shields has won 3 fights in a row in the UFC (one fight, with Ed Herman, was later made a no contest due to a failed post fight test) but he still has not impressed anyone.
Jake Shields goes into Brazil in desperate need of a signature, showstopping win. And his recent track record is that he cannot deliver that.