UFC Fight Night no Combate in São Paulo, Brazil, Oct. 9 now officially has its headliner: Demian Maia vs. Jake Shields.
The No. 4 ranked, 170-pound contender Maia (18-4) will take on former Strikeforce champion Shields (28-6-1) in a five-round bout to cap off a night of fights that will air on FOX Sports 1 in the United States.
Maia, who is undefeated at welterweight, expressed his pride in representing his country on home soil in an article with UFC.com:
I am very happy and proud to be the main event. I’ve always wanted to fight for the UFC in São Paulo, were I was born and raised. I have a special connection with the Jose Correa arena in Barueri, where I had my first major MMA milestone in 2006. My big goal is to get a title shot and become world champion. I know Jake Shields is a great opponent, with wins over names such as Dan Henderson and Carlos Condit, and beating him is sure to get me within title contention.
In the same article, Shields also spoke on the quality of his opponent as well as Brazilian fans:
The Brazilian audience is intimidating and enthusiastic, and it makes for an excellent atmosphere. But once I get in the Octagon, I’ll be focused and ready. Fighting Demian on his home turf will not be an issue. His strengths are obvious: he’s the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu martial artist in my division. His weakness is his standup. I want to beat him at what he’s best at.
The co-main event of the night will pit two more welterweights contenders against each other, as Erick Silva (15-3) takes on South Korea's Dong Hyun Kim (17-2-1).
Silva is coming off the Submission of the Night victory in his last outing. Kim has won three-of-four, with the loss coming at the hands of Maia when a freak injury during a scramble forced him to tap out.
Both the main and co-main events promise to be tactical smorgasbords. Maia and Shields are among the best at control grappling in MMA, while Kim has not found an opponent he can't take down during his UFC stint.
The young Brazilian, Silva, has his own explosive ground game, with two of his three UFC victories coming by way of first-round submission.