Demian Maia vs. Rocco Martin
|Date & Time||Saturday June 29, 2019, 10:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Martin +139 / Maia -161 -- Over/Under:
Demian Maia and Rocco Martin fight Saturday during UFC on ESPN 3 at the Target Center.
Demian Maia enters this fight with a 26-9 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by submission. Maia has split his last six fights and is coming off a February win over Lyman Good. Maia is averaging 1.77 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 43 percent. Maia is averaging 2.56 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 26 percent. Maia managed to snap a three-fight losing streak with a beautiful and dominant performance where he produced a takedown and then rode Good’s back for nearly two minutes before locking in the rear-naked choke. It showed the skills are still there at 41 years old and those grappling skills and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background can live on forever. There’s no surprises ever with Maia, as he’s a grappling machine and easily one of the best ground fighters the sport has ever seen. Maia is a well decorated grappler who has 60 takedowns on the UFC level and has made his presence felt in countless tournaments over the last two decades. Maia also has a vicious ground and pound attack, as he lands 43 percent of his strikes on the canvas. Few can compete with Maia once he gets his opponent off his feet. This will be Maia’s first career fight in Minnesota.
Rocco Martin enters this fight with a 16-4 record and has won 56 percent of his fights by submission. Martin has won seven of his last eight fights and is coming off a March win over Sergio Moraes. Martin is averaging 2.82 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 39 percent. Martin is averaging 0.82 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 26 percent. Martin went from being an intriguing prospect who struggled when he first got called up to the UFC to putting together four straight wins and looking like a potential title contender. Martin’s only loss in his last eight fights was a split decision against Olivier Aubin-Mercier, a fight he easily could have won given that he landed more total strikes. Martin is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and six of his nine submission victories have come by a different hold, so he’s quite creative and versatile with how he wins fights. There’s no doubt Martin can hold his own on the canvas, but he’s also a very underrated striker with some power in his hands and above-average athleticism. Martin’s head kick against Ryan LaFlare last year showed just how good he can be standing up and that there’s far more potential to this 29-year-old who appears to be on the rise. This will be Martin’s seventh career fight in Minnesota.
Maia should be the favorite given his expertise and experience, and while Martin is no slouch with his ground game and has a deep BJJ background himself, it doesn’t get much better than the Brazilian. Even in his 40s, nobody is encouraging a ground attack with Maia and you have to like his chances if he can get the fight where he wants it. With that said, Martin has the striking to give Maia all kinds of problems and should be able to backpedal to a victory if he can keep this fight standing up, which he’s been able to do in his last four fights. This is a big fight for Martin to kind of put himself in the mix of a tough division and I like his chances based on his past recent results. This is also a bit of a homecoming for Martin, who started his career in Minnesota, so some extra crowd support never hurt anybody.
I like Martin for the upset victory.