UFC Fight Night 28: Maia vs Shields looks to be one of the better cards of the year. It’s the sixth Brazil show this year and the first in the Ginasio Jose Correa arena in Barueri, Sao Paulo. It seats 5,000 and should be full or close to full for showtime on Wednesday.
No one is going to watch it though as these early Wednesday cards have done poorly since the move to Fuel and Fox Sports.
Demian Maia (18 – 4) v Jake Shields (28 – 6 – 1)
As a grappling fan, this looks like it should be a lot of fun. The issue with high level grapplers facing off is that you end up with two awesome BJJ back belts having a shitty kickboxing match. This could be like no other as neither guy has a great striking background and have nor dropped anyone in a fight. Jake has three TKOs to his name but they were of the takedown, pass guard, mount variety. Maia has one of these from 2001 as his sole finish from strikes.
After spending a few fights testing the kickboxing waters, Maia decided to start grappling again. His relentless pursuit of the takedown earned him a stoppage of Dong Hyun Kim and Rick Story. In his last fight he showed his best performance to date. He successfully out-Fitched Jon Fitch. He just dove on the guy, took him down repeatedly, took his back and didn’t give him any space for fifteen minutes.
Former two weight world champion with Elite XC and Strikeforce, Shields has had mixed results in the UFC. He’s gone 3 -2-1 since he arrived with all three wins being close decisions. After the UFC cut Yushin Okami, Shields has to be worrying about his own worth to the UFC. If Okami could be cut with a 13 – 5 record, Jake and his 75-to-show and 75-to-win contract was easily be given the boot.
As seen with Nik Lentz, an exciting fight with your back against the wall can save your job win or lose. Whether it will happen or not is up in the air.
Erick Silva (15 – 3) v Dong Hyun Kim (17 -2 -1 -1)
The 29-year-old Silva looked like the next big thing with dominating performances against Luis Ramon, Carlo Prater and Charlie Brenneman. He destroyed each guy in the first round, looking awesome each time. He ran in to a Jon Fitch shaped roadblock in his first test against an upper-echelon guy. He nearly finished Fitch in the second round but he was just grinded out by the bigger, stronger wrestler. He rebounded against Jason High in June this year with a beautiful reverse triangle submission, his second submission of the night.
Kim has gone 3 – 2 in his last five fights, being finished by main evener Maia and Carlos Condit. His wins were listless decisions over tough guys. Good wins but not the most exciting of fights. After being firmly dumped from the top of the welterweight pile, Kim needs to show something here.
Silva’s last fight with a high level grappler ended in a comprehensive defeat for the Brazillian. The question that needs to be answered here is can he avoid Kim’s clinch for three rounds and can he make quick work of the South Korean.
Thiago Silva (15 – 3 – 2 NC) v Matt Hamill (11 – 4)
Both guys badly need a win here. Hamill’s last fight with Roger Hollett was probably 2012’s most boring fight. Worse still, both fighters were incredibly gassed by the second round and looked appalling.
Silva has had the strangest run of any top level performer in years. After a year long suspension, Silva came back with a listless loss to Alexander Gustafsson. He went on to win an awesome fight against Stanislav Nedkov, a real back and forth fight where both guys could have been finished. His regional win via arm-triangle was overturned due to failing a drug test again. After a six-month suspension he beat the shit out of Rafael Calvacante, finishing him in the first round.
When Silva looks good, he’s awesome but his inconsistent form and drug failures don’t fill me with the greatest of confidence. That said, he’s against Matt Hamill who hasn’t looked like he wants to be a fighter in about three years.
Prediction: Silva. Probably overturned in the future. I wonder what the odds are on that.
Edit: I wrote this last night and it turns out that Silva weighed in at 208. Enjoy beating up scrubs in Bellator pal.
Rousimar Palhares (14 – 5) v Mike Pierce (17 – 5)
Known psychopath Palhares looks so strange at 170. The recent photos that were posted make him look at lot more human that ever before. That might prove to be a worry against the most human looking fighter in the welterweight division Mike Pierce. Pierce has never been finished and Palhares has been known to be lacking in heart.
Prediction: Toquinho gasses within six minutes and Pierce puts him away.