Rising prospect Chris Weidman accepted a fight with former middleweight title challenger Demian Maia on 11 days notice, but it payed off in the end, as he earned a unanimous decision victory after three rounds of fighting on UFC on Fox 2.
Maia, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and Weidman, a former NCAA Division I wrestler, both were hesitant in the stand-up for the majority of the bout. Only Weidman took the fight to the ground.
What we'll remember from this fight:
The fight was a sloppy kickboxing match for the most part, and while the Chicago crowd booed through much of it, Weidman does deserve credit for taking the fight on short notice and cutting 32 pounds in 10 days to make the 185-pound middleweight limit.
What we learned about Demian Maia:
Maia has the best jiu-jitsu in the UFC, but it doesn't matter if he doesn't use it. Since his submission victory over Chael Sonnen in 2009, he has gone 4-4 with all but one fight going the distance.
There seemed to be something off with the Brazilian Saturday night, and though he had shown much improved stand-up in the past, this fight didn't showcase it.
What we learned about Chris Weidman:
Weidman deserved the decision win, and after obtaining three takedowns and out-striking Maia 43-36 through the first two rounds, the decision was in his hands.
The only negative thing to say about Weidman's performance was his cardio was not where it needs to be to compete with the best. He was visibly gassed after the first round, and it could have spelled defeat had his opponent been in better shape.
What's next for Weidman:
If the UFC wants to push him towards a title shot, a fight versus the winner of Yushin Okami and Tim Boetsch makes sense in helping get his name out there. Also, a fight versus Rousimar Palhares could be very interesting.
What's next for Maia:
Maia is still a top middleweight, but this performance sets him back considerably. A fight versus Jason Miller, who was last seen losing to Michael Bisping, could get him back on track. The loser of Brian Stann and Alessio Sakara would also be a good opponent.
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