Maia vs. Koscheck Early Bird Betting Preview

Demian Maia The latest rumored UFC fight is a high-profile welterweight bout for the upcoming UFC 163 card this August in Brazil, as the surging Demian Maia will take on former title challenger Josh Koscheck in a three-round fight. That’s the event that’s headlined by UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis, by the way. At first glance, the fight might not make much sense. After all, Maia is currently 3-0 as a welterweight with two finishes while Koscheck is 0-2 in his last two outings including a brutal TKO loss at the hands of Robbie Lawler in his last bout at UFC 157. So, at least on paper, it doesn’t make much sense to match these two up at this point in time. However, one must keep in mind that there just aren’t many welterweights available to fight right now. UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will take on No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks sometime this last summer/fall, and Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger and Tarec Saffiedine vs. Lawler have already been booked. Out of the remaining fighters ranked in the top 10, Carlos Condit is currently taking some time off to work on his wrestling, Nick Diaz is in a state of semi-retirement and Martin Kampmann is nowhere to be found. That leaves just Maia and Koscheck without fights, and that’s why the UFC decided to book them against one another. Instead of complaining about what a horrible job UFC matchmaker Joe Silva has done here, instead we should focus our attention on how this fight will play out so we can make a bet on it when it happens. The betting odds for this fight have yet to be released, but when they do, there’s no doubt that Maia is going to open up as the favorite, possibly even in the -300 range. Yes, that might seem extreme, but considering how high the public is on Maia after his dominating victory over Jon Fitch at UFC 156 and considering the public is down on Koscheck after his fight with Lawler, the line is likely to be inflated in Maia’s favor. Forgetting the public hype, should Maia be a 3-to-1 favorite? In my honest opinion, no he shouldn’t be. Yes, Maia has looked like an absolute beast at welterweight, but Koscheck is a different style match. Against Fitch, who is a comparable wrestler to Koscheck, Maia was able to take him down at will. But the difference between Koscheck and Fitch is that Fitch doesn’t mind grappling because he has absolutely no striking to speak of, so he’s never really worked on his takedown defence. I mean, BJ Penn took down Fitch at will in their fight at UFC 127, so anyone who watched that fight knew that Maia had a good chance of getting him down, and that’s exactly what he did for three rounds. Koscheck, on the other hand, does have striking, and he does have power. He has solid takedown defence too and he doesn’t like to be on the ground like Fitch does. If Koscheck can keep the fight with Maia standing, he’ll have the power edge for sure, although Maia’s technical boxing has really improved and if he can stay away from Kos’ big power shots he can win a striking battle with him if he fights smart. Still, I don’t think it’d be wise to take the gamble that Koscheck can keep this fight standing since Maia’s takedowns have looked so incredible at 170 pounds, so this is likely a fight that is going to be a total pass from my end unless we get either Maia under -200 or Koscheck at over +300. In both cases, there might be a play to be made, but I just don’t see the lines ever getting to those numbers. Keep in mind no actual odds have been released so I’m just speculating at the moment, but right now but right now I lean Maia to win the fight via either decision or submission, but, like I said, it will all depend on Koscheck’s takedown defence, because if he does keep the fight standing, it’ll be more of a coin-flip, and then the bet will be on Koscheck. But if he hits the mat like most assume it will, this is Maia’s fight to lose and therefore the bet will be on him if the number is good enough. And if Maia wins, don’t be surprised if he fights the winner of St-Pierre vs. Hendricks for the title down the road, so motivation is definitely an added factor in this matchup, and sometimes that’s the hardest thing to cap in a fight.

Written by Adam Martin.

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