UFC 170 Fight Breakdown: Rory MacDonald (-265) vs. Demian Maia (+245)

Demian Maia One of the most intriguing fights on the entire UFC 170 card is a welterweight battle between top-10 ranked contenders Rory “Ares” MacDonald and Demian Maia. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists MacDonald as a -265 betting favorite (bet $265 to win $100) while Maia is a +245 underdog (bet $100 to win $245). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up MacDonald at -215 and Maia at +165, meaning there has been a good amount of action on the favorite MacDonald. I understand where this line movement is coming from as I’m also picking MacDonald to win this fight. Here’s why. MacDonald (15-2) is a well-rounded welterweight contender fighting out of TriStar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The 24-year-old Canadian has excellent technical striking on the feet, he has a long reach, and he also has very solid wrestling for someone without a wrestling background. His submissions are also top notch. In the UFC, MacDonald is 6-2 with huge wins over Jake Ellenberger, BJ Penn, Nate Diaz, and Mike Pyle, and his only losses have come against top-ranked contenders Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit in two fights he was competitive in before losing. Although MacDonald has been overhyped by the fans since making his UFC debut, he is definitely a great welterweight fighter and if he can rebound from his loss to Lawler with an impressive win against Maia, he will jump right back into title contention. Maia (18-5) is one of the top grapplers in the UFC. The 36-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is incredible at submissions and has won four Submission of the Night awards in his UFC career. He’s 12-5 overall in the Octagon, which includes a 3-1 record in the UFC welterweight division with wins at 170 over Jon Fitch, Dong Hyun Kim, and Rick Story. In his last outing against Jake Shields, Maia was too content to lie on his back and ended up losing a split decision, but that was a competitive fight and it’s not fair to write Maia off after that one loss considering how good he looked before. A smothering grappler with amazing body-lock takedowns, Maia has a chance to jump back into the top five of the division with a win over MacDonald at UFC 170, but it’s not an easy matchup for him at all. Although Maia is excellent at closing the distance, I see MacDonald using his jab to keep the distance and outpointing Maia en route to a decision win. If the fight does go to the ground it’s going to be a sweat for MacDonald backers, but I think that more times than not MacDonald should be able to keep this fight on the feet and that’s where he has the biggest advantage. At -265, I think MacDonald is almost playable as part of a two-team parlay. I really like Maia and don’t bet against him that often, but I think in this spot it’s just a bad matchup for him as MacDonald has several key advantage (youth, reach) that should help him achieve victory. The prop on MacDonald by decision at -110 is also intriguing because that’s how I see him winning, but the safest thing to do in this spot is to parlay MacDonald or pass on a bet altogether.

Written by Adam Martin.

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