Now I know this may not be a popular thing to say but I feel it needs to be discussed. I have been a fan of Maia his past few fights. His BJJ is amazing and he has easily put down some bigger names but his game isnt complete.
With all his wins, There is still an arguement whether Henderson or the winner of Nate Marquardt/ Demian Maia gets a title shot. I see it this way. If Mardquardt wins, either deserve a shot. If Maia wins, Henderson should get it.
Though this may seem a little unfair but after the Thales fight, I think the UFC needs to pick the hardest fight possible for Silva. When Silva is truly challenged, it turns into bad fights. The UFC is going this route with the Griffin fight coming up next month. Griffin isnt going to feel out Silva for 1 or 2 rounds. Not just because Forrest isnt that kind of fighter, but also because this fight is only three rounds. Silva is going to have to fight for every round in that fight which will make for a great fight.
What would Silva/ Maia do though? Its obvious what Maia's gameplan would be as he is limited to how he could beat Silva. He is going to go for the takedown and look for a submission. Silva, in his interest, will attempt and most likely stay standing and punish Maia for 5 rounds unless he is able to finish Maia.
So who sees Silva/ Maia that much different from his last defense and do we really want to see back to back defenses against a similar style opponent?
This is an easy one....
When Leites couldn't get silva to the ground with a single or double leg, that's when the flopping and running away happened. I seriously doubt that Maia would take this strategy. Maia has shown that he will find a way to get to the ground if the shot doesn't work, whether it's an inderect takedown, pulling guard, a trip, whatever the case may be. Not to mention, Maia doesn't wanna exchange on the feet for long with silva, but He'll mix it up enough to get in close enough to clinch and make something happen, whereas Leites was shooting from way out. Maia is smarter and has more heart than leites in my opinion, and I don't think a fight with him and silva would be even remotely close to the one that took place at UFC 97.
I agree with the above statement, Maia is in a different league then Leites and would really bring it to him.
It definitely has the potential to be the same type of fight but Maia's takedowns are better than Leites'. Lets not forget the Sonnen fight and he's a wrestler.
The difference would be that Maia is better at securing the takedown--probably due to him having a strong background in Judo growing up--I mean he nailed Sonnen with a Sasae Tsuri-Komi Ashi, nearly dropping him on his head. He's also much better at pulling guard than Thales, and his BJJ is top of the food chain. I mean Thales has great BJJ, just not at Maia's level, and not nearly as offensive.
Demian seems pretty fearless on his feet. I don't think he's going to be shy about closing the distance. I definetely give Maia a solid chance, especially if he can beat Nate.
Demian Maia and Rousimar Palhares in my opinion are probably the most dangerous matchups for Silva at the moment.
We'll see how it goes come UFC102.
If Maia can submit Nate, then he has more than a puncher's chance of taking the spider down...
I don't even think Maia and Leites are even close in terms of fighting ability. Don't get me wrong, they are both awesome jiu jitsu guys, but I think Maia's takedowns and ground game is much sharper than that of Leites.
Who has Leites faced?
Martin Kampmann - Unanimous Decision LOSS. Kampmann is a pretty damn good fighter, and now fights at 170. This was Leites' debut in the UFC... could Maia beat Kampmann at 185? I personally think so, but we'll never know really.
Pete Sell - Unanimous Decision W. I know Drago is a BB in BJJ, but I'm almost certain Maia would've subbed this guy silly.
Floyd Sword - Round 1 Arm Triangle. Maia would've subbed him in round 1 just the same.
Ryan Jensen - Round 1 Armbar (3:47). Maia Round 1 Rear Naked Choke (2:40).
Nate Marquardt - Split Decision victory that he won on docked points... Marquardt won that fight. (Maia's next opponent.)
Drew McFederies - Round 1 RNC (1:18). Maia would've essentially done the same.
Anderson Silva - Unanimous Decision LOSS that everyone talks about as an embarrassment.
Ryan Jensen R1 Armbar
Ed Herman R2 Triangle (put to sleep)
Jason MacDonald R3 RNC - Brilliant chess match, and a match I still watch frequently.
Nate Quarry - R1 RNC. Quarry's only other loss in the UFC is that KO to Franklin.
Chael Sonnen - R1 Triangle. The submission that makes everyone cream themselves.
Who has faced tougher guys? Imo, Maia has with the exception of Marquardt (but Leites should've lost that fight anyways) and he's fighting him next month anyways.
So it all comes down to, No, I think it would be a different match than what we saw at UFC97.
I think he'd use the clinch trip takedowns to avoid shots on the singles and doubles. I think there's a better chance of him getting KO'd than him subbing Anderson though, but wouldn't be surprised by either.
When Maia gets the shot, Hendo will be champ though, so we might as well talk about that matchup
The difference between Maia's approach to this fight and Thales approach to the fight was that Thales was passive and Maia will be aggressive. Thales barely let his hands go on the feet, and when his takedown got stopped a few times he got discouraged. He just looked confused and out of place. On the other hand, if Maia fights him, I am sure Maia will push it. He will be the aggressor and clinch with Anderson. If he can't get the takedown he'll pull guard like he's done before. The fight will certainly have a fast pace, and Maia has said in previous interviews that he is going to push Silva. So either he'll finish Silva or Silva will finish him. Its not going to a decision.