At UFC 102 the main event is between two legendary combatants. But before Randy Couture and Antonio Nogueira wage war, two middleweight contenders vouching for the chance to try and seize Anderson Silva's belt will do battle.
The two contenders in question are Nate "The Great" Marquardt and Demian Maia.
Nate Marquardt, a former King of Pancrase, is no stranger to the limelight. In fact, he found himself at UFC 73 in the middle of the greatest limelight of them all, that being in the form of Anderson Silva. However, on this occasion the limelight proved too much for Nate as he succumbed to a late first round TKO.
The man who will stand across the octagon from Marquardt is the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu enigma Demian Maia, a softly spoken man who believes victory in MMA matches does not necessarily have to include excessive violence. A change from the "I'm going to try and kill you" remarks. An ADCC champion, Maia has proved to be quite the success in his transition from the Jiu Jitsu world to the cage.
Maia has fought five times in the Octagon against the likes of Chael Sonnen, Nate Quarry, and Jason McDonald, to name a few. All of his five bouts have ended with submission, in his favour of course.
When Marquardt and Maia meet, one thing is for sure. Both will try everything in their power to get the victory as the winner potentially will be granted a title shot. Nate has a significant advantage in the stand-up department as well as strength and experience.
Maia's obvious strength is his Jiu Jitsu and should the match find itself on the mat Maia will have a significant advantage. That said, Nate is no slouch and also holds a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt.
Who will win is a hard question to answer. Will Nate move one step closer to possible redemption or will Maia prove yet again his impeccable Jiu Jitsu technique may untangle the Spider's web?