(Demian Maia’s neck-crank of Rick Story — it just never gets old, does it? / GIF via Fightlinker)
With Jon Fitch coming off a redemptive Fight of the Night victory over Erick Silva at UFC 153 — his first win in over two years — the Indiana-bred wrestler is suddenly a factor again in the welterweight division. And so, the UFC will be giving him another opportunity to cement his contender status at UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar (February 2nd; Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas), where he’ll face off against Brazilian grappling specialist Demian Maia. The promotion confirmed the booking last night.
After hitting a wall at middleweight, Maia dropped to 170 earlier this year, debuting with a fluke-ish TKO-via-muscle-spasm victory over Dong Hyun Kim. But against Rick Story at UFC 153, we finally saw flashes of the Old Maia, as he picked up his first submission victory since his triangle-choke of Chael Sonnen in February 2009. And man, was it nasty.
We all know that this is going to be a grapple-fest, and odds are that it’ll go the distance. But considering that Fitch has turned over a new leaf in his approach to fighting — and that Maia has located his jiu-jitsu again — it could be an entertaining scrap. Who y’all got?