UFC Fight Night 29 Sneak Peek: Demian Maia (-260) vs. Jake Shields (+220)

Demian Maia The main event of the upcoming (Oct. 9, 2013) UFC Fight Night 29 card is a five-round welterweight bout between Demian Maia and Jake Shields. With a victory in this fight, it is expected that Maia will be in the mix for a title shot at 170 pounds. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Maia as a -260 favorite (bet $260 to win $100) and Shields as a +220 underdog (bet $100 to win $220). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened Maia at -245 and Shields at +175 which means the public so far favors Maia, and I feel they’re on the right track as I think the Brazilian wins too. In fact, I really like Maia in this fight, and since I personally cap him as a -300 favorite, I believe there is value in his current moneyline at -260. Since dropping down to welterweight, Maia has looked absolutely sensational, dispatching of Dong Hyun-Kim via injury TKO, Rick Story via rear-naked choke submission and Jon Fitch via three-round back control. Before that, he fought his entire career as a middleweight until losses to Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman and Mark Munoz convinced him to drop to 170. At welterweight, Maia now enjoys a healthy size advantage in his new weight class and it’s really helped him with his ability to take fights to the floor and use his incredible submission abilities, which are by far his best attribute. After dominating Fitch earlier this year at UFC 156 and moving into the elite of the division, Maia was set to face Josh Koscheck at UFC 163 but “Kos” pulled out with an injury and the UFC instead booked Maia vs. Shields to be the main event for UFC Fight Night 29, which takes place in Maia’s home country of Brazil. And we all know how dominant Brazilians have been on home soil. To me, this fight is a showcase for Maia, and it’s quite similar to the recent Glover Teixeira vs. Ryan Bader matchup in that the UFC is giving a top Brazilian contender the chance to shine in front of their fans and maybe earn a title shot with an impressive win. Unlike Bader, who has major power in his hands and who had a clear path to victory over Teixeira, how does Shields beat Maia? To me, he only has one path to victory: to win by decision. Shields, as my cohort Brad Taschuk puts it, has this uncanny ability to make fights really ugly and win rounds on the judges’ cards. Even against UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Shields was able to win rounds with his kickboxing because of his opponent’s fear his vaunted BJJ, and he recently upset Tyron Woodley in a fight that everyone saw as a bad match-up for him. So it’s possible, I guess, that he could keep Maia upright and steal a card. But I don’t think it’s likely. Instead, I don’t see Maia having a problem fighting Shields on the ground and I think he will be able to get the takedowns easier than many people expect him too. I think it’s even possible that in a five-round fight, Maia can get the submission, even though that might shock everyone. On the feet, Maia is the better striker, so I think he has the advantage there, too. Basically, I think he has the advantage everywhere, and at -260, I’m willing to bank on him to use his superior tools to take out Shields and emerge as the next welterweight title contender.

Written by Adam Martin.

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UFC Fight Night 29 Bet: Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim (+225) vs Erick Silva (-245)

UFC Fight Night 29 Bet: Demian Maia (-270) vs Jake Shields (+235)