You know how broken-down, piece-of-shit houses are often advertised as “handyman’s specials“? Well, tomorrow’s UFC Fight Night 29 event in Barueri is a “grappler’s wet dream,” headlined by two welterweights known for bringing it to the mat and keeping it there for AS LONG AS IT TAKES!!! (Just trying to stay positive here, guys.) Non-Baruerians can watch the action on FOX Sports 1, and we’ll be livebogging the main card starting at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
To keep you current on all the important themes surrounding “Maia vs. Shields,” it’s time for CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Seth Falvo to engage in some spirited debate. So how will the main event play out? What’s the best way to make money off the fights? Which fighter on the card is talented enough to be a future Bellator tournament semi-finalist? And which funny GIF will show up at the end of this post? Read on, and please toss your own opinions in the comments section.
Will Demian Maia‘s main event fight against Jake Shields go any differently than his last win against Jon Fitch? And are you already sold on Maia as a future welterweight title contender?
BG: Not all boring grapplers are the same. There can be subtle differences between boring grapplers. Jon Fitch is a guy whose single-minded focus is to take you down and lay on you until the fight ends. Jake Shields will take you down and try to submit you first, and if that’s not working out, then he’ll lay on you until the fight ends.
Here’s another difference — Fitch seems to lose a couple belt-ranks when his opponent manages to scramble onto his back. (Maia and BJ Penn were both able to hang out in back control for long stretches against Fitch, who defended himself well against rear-naked chokes, but was otherwise stuck in position.) Shields tends to be a little more active on the mat than Fitch both offensively and defensively, and unlike Fitch, Jake Shields has never been submitted in his entire career.
I see two possible outcomes here: 1) Maia and Shields recognize each other’s grappling abilities, and proceed to put on the sloppiest, stupidest kickboxing match in recent UFC history. 2) Shields tries to play jiu-jitsu with Maia, and it doesn’t work out too well for him. Either way, I’ve got the Brazilian by decision. Now would that firmly establish Maia as a title threat? Maybe not. Keep in mind that all of Maia’s opponents during his UFC welterweight run have been wrestlers. Give him the winner of UFC 167’s Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald bout after this one, and we’ll see how he handles himself in the deep end of the pool, against guys with the power to turn him upside-down.
SF: Glad to see I’m not the only person around here who has drank more than enough of the Demian Maia Kool-Aid; I’m already sold on him as a legitimate contender. But are we seriously writing off Jake Shields this easily?
I’m not about to write that Jake Shields has great striking or anything, but for a one-dimensional grappler, his Muay Thai is better than it has any business being. Yeah, I know — that’s like writing that The Wrestling Boot Band weren’t that terrible or that Pepsi Jazz was sort-of drinkable — but I’m not ready to say the same thing about Maia. Point being, if this fight stays on the feet, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Jake Shields walk away victorious. And, who knows, Jake may even violate a CagePotato Ban and win by bringing back the old Jake Shields tomorrow night. Anything can happen in a cage fight, bro.
Looking at the gambling odds for this event, what’s the single smartest wager you could make?