The Brazilian jiu-jitsu magician that is Demian Maia will look to start his march back into the murky waters of middleweight contendership on Saturday night against Jorge Santiago.
Maia has done it all in the UFC including a fight for a championship. The submission ace made his way to the top at UFC 112, where a stunned crowd saw Anderson Silva berate Maia and refuse to engage on numerous occasions.
Even though he managed to secure the decision victory, he enraged Dana White. White was so mad that he refused to put the belt on Silva following the fight and threatened to cut him if another performance mirrored that one.
Maia's skills have garnered him four "Submission of the Night" bonuses, including three straight.
He will encounter Santiago, who is off a knockout defeat to the "All-American" Brian Stann at UFC 130. Santiago, a black belt jiu-jitsu fighter himself will face some stiff opposition in Maia.
With an 8-3 record in the UFC, Maia is widely considered one of the best grapplers in the UFC. If the fight goes to the ground, you can count on him to end it there. With an improved strike attack in his more recent bouts, Maia wants to erase his one-dimensional reputation and become a threat standing.
With a victory, Maia will move himself closer to contendership.
He would definitely need a few more victories to get into the title picture, especially since he already loss to Silva. A win would put him in the right direction and get him into some tougher fights.
Perhaps a fight versus Yushin Okami if he wins?