UFC FIGHT NIGHT 29: MAIA VS.SHIELDS
Jose Correa Arena - BARUERI, BRAZIL WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 9, 2013 – Fox Sports 1 - 7PM/4PM ETPT
I love October. . . Halloween, championship baseball, autumnal foliage, football in full swing (college and pro), the puck drops, basketball is just around the corner and yes, everybody is Kung-Fu Fighting!!! UFC starts off a month of stacked fight cards with a free-bee on FS1. Three welter contentions on the Main Card including “Skrap Pack” alum Jake Shields versus the new and improved Welter-Weight Demian Maia for the Main Event. Two Light-Heavy barn burners and one top ten Bantam brawl complete what should be a memorable night of fights. These are my picks and predications for UFC FIGHT NIGHT 29: MAIA VS. SHIELDS
DEMIAN MAIA (18-4) #4 VS. JAKE SHIELDS (28-6)
Finding himself at a crossroads at Middle-Weight, Demian Maia made a move to Welter and it seems to be proving to be a smart move at that. Since making the 15lb. weight cut Maia has won (3) fights in a row, soundly beating the likes of Dong Kim, Rick Story and Jon Fitch. He faces another fighter who recently made the transition from Middle back to Welter in Jake Shields. Shields won his return to the division he once dominated as a StrikeForce employee by defeating Tyron Woodley in a lackluster stand-up decision. Maia is favored in this fight, after putting on a grappling clinic against game grinder Jon Fitch. Although Maia maybe the best pound for pound BJJ practitioner in the cage, Shields is as good as it gets, possessing a Class-A BBJ 1st degree black-belt and NCAA Division II wrestling skills. Keep in mind, Maia is a 4th degree black belt. . .
Prediction: Three degrees of separation. . . Hard fought as it will be, Maia gets the submission and the Brazilian crowd goes wild.
ERICK SILVA (15-3) VS. DONG HYUN “STUN GUN” KIM (17-2)
Kim took the injury induced loss to Demian Maia with stride, notching (2) decision victories in a row against Paulo Thiago and Siyar Bahadurzada. “The Stun Gun’s” latest opponent defines the proverbial well-rounded fighter, bringing to the cage a fighting style that combines BJJ, Wrestling and Thai Boxing. Erick Silva’s last (3) fights were bonuses, (2) Submission and (1) Fight of the Night. Both fighters are fast, powerful and technically sound. I see a possible “_______ of the Night” (fill in the blank) outcome. Silva is the favorite. Go with the odds
Prediction: Don’t Taze me, bro! Silva shocks the “Stun Gun” with body/leg kicks winning by strikes.
THIAGO SILVA (15-3) VS. MATT "THE HAMMER" HAMILL (12-4)
Since coming out of retirement in 2011 Matt Hamill has lost 2 out of 3, albeit to top opponents “Rampage” Jackson and Alexander Gustafsson. Thiago Silva is fresh off of a much needed and impressive “Fight/Knockout of the Night” against Rafael Cavalcante. Silva had (2) previous victories overturned due to failed drug tests. Hamill, as strong in heart as he is, has not seen action in the Octagon in over a year. Betting odds are with the younger Silva (by six years). Hamill will try to keep it against the cage, using his brute strength to subdue Silva’s striking, a plan that is easily seen and can be avoided if Silva’s Jaco Hybrid Training Center did their homework.
Prediction: Silva by strikes.
FABIO MALDONALDO(19-6) VS. JOEY “THE MEXICUTIONER” BALTRAN (14-8)
The odds are very tight in this Battle of the Bulkheads! Two fighters never mirrored each other more than Maldonado and Baltran. Hit them and they barely flinch. Hit them harder and they lumber forward like the “Living Dead” on PCP. Don’t believe me? Watch Glover Teixeira throw everything but the kitchen sink at Maldonaldo, who wouldn’t quit until a doctor said he had to. Or take in Pat Barry’s brutal leg beating of Baltran, who stunned Barry by walking forward like a T-800 Endoskeleton the entire fight. Leather will fly and someone might lose an eye. It’s Zombie vs. Robot. I’ll chose the robot (can’t bite through metal).
Prediction: Maldonaldo absorbs more pain, which means Baltran lands more strikes. “The Mexicutioner” by decision. (FIGHT OF THE NIGHT CONTENDER)
ROUSIMAR “TREE STUMP” PALHARES (23-5) VS. MIKE PIERCE (20-8)
Palhares’ nickname means “tree stump” when translated from his native tongue. When I think of a tree stump, strong, immovable and thick comes to mind. These things describe the monstrous Welter to a tee. However, you can strike a tree stump and the stump will not strike back. Unfortunately, this also suits the Brazilian. The Stump faces an opponent with proven “lights out” power in Mike Pierce, who has won (4) in a row, (2) by KO. Palhares is in the dreaded (2) losses in a row red zone, with both losses by KO. To defeat Pierce, Palhares will have to get passed NCAA Division I wrestling and utilize his world class submission skills.
Prediction: The Tree Stump gets pulled from the roots. Pierce by KO.
RAPHAEL ASSUNCAO (19-4)#5 VS. TJ DILLASHAW #9 (9-1)
Two top-ten Bantams start out the night for the Main Card. In Dillashaw you have Division I wrestling ability and KO headhunting that has earned him (4) wins in a row, (2) by KO. His opposition is also (4) fights in the green, with (1) by arm-bar and another by strikes. Dillashaw is a -240 favorite, but Asscuncao has the home field advantage and if any fans can factor in, it’s Brazilians. It will come down to takedowns; Dillashaw setting them up with strikes and Assuncao applying a proven defense game. I’m leaning towards the underdog on this one. Assuncao is a big Bantam, with superior Muay Thai striking, a threat both standing and on the ground.
Prediction: Assuncao by strikes.