MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Maldonado vs. Miocic Set For TUF Brazil 3 Finale

Fabio Maldonado Fabio Maldonado is never one to back down from a challenge, and later this month he’ll be taking on the biggest challenge of his career to date — literally. The UFC yesterday announced that Maldonado, an unranked light heavyweight fighter, will be moving up to heavyweight to take on top-10 heavyweight Stipe Miocic in the main event of the TUF Brazil 3 Finale, which takes place May 31 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The fight booking, which came a day after former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos pulled out of the fight against Miocic due to a broken hand, may seem random at first, but when you look closer it does kind of make sense. Unfortunately for the UFC, there was literally no heavyweight available to fight Miocic. Alistair Overeem? Hurt. Mark Hunt? Hurt. Roy Nelson? Miocic already beat him. Gabriel Gonzaga? Miocic already beat him. Brendan Schaub? Already booked to face Andrei Arlovski. And as everyone knows, the state of heavyweight MMA outside the UFC is horrendous so there was no one for the promotion to sign on short notice to sign Miocic. So instead of booking someone like Matt Mitrione or Shawn Jordan against Miocic, UFC matchmake Joe Silva got creative and called up Maldonado, a 205er with an iron chin and an even bigger heart to take on Miocic in just three weeks from now. As far as the Miocic vs. Maldonado matchup goes, stylistically it definitely favors the bigger Miocic, who should be able to keep the fight standing and outstrike Maldonado with his lethal kickboxing attack, and possibly even use his underrated wrestling to take Maldonado down and beat him up there. As for Maldonado, he’s going to be at a huge size disadvantage here and the only way he can win is if Miocic gets tired and Maldonado starts to find his chin with his jab. But that’s going to be very difficult to do against a similarly-skilled striker like Miocic. As far as the odds go, Miocic will likely be a heavy favorite here, and it’s justifiable considering the size advantage and also the fact he is the more well-rounded mixed martial artist. That being said, we’ve seen Miocic isn’t the greatest finisher and his cardio isn’t proven for five rounds, so if the fight goes to the fourth and fifth rounds it could be interesting. But realistically, he should beat Maldonado up, win this fight, and remain a viable contender in the UFC heavyweight division. As for Maldonado, even if he loses I expect the UFC to appreciate him stepping up on short and I don’t think losing to Miocic at heavyweight will take away from his current three-fight win streak at light heavyweight, so expect him to come back later this year and fight a top 15 205er after this Miocic fight.

Written by Adam Martin.

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