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Posts Tagged ‘Maia’

Looking to bounce back from a loss, top welterweight contender Rory MacDonald stays focused on his opponent, Demian Maia, at UFC 170. See MacDonald fight Tarec Saffiedine in the main event at UFC Fight Night Halifax.

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Injuries have resulted in a new co-main event for the UFC’s Aug. 23 trip to Oklahoma.

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Nate Marquardt, winner of 35 professional fights, gets his third straight finish in this win over grappling ace Demian Maia.

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Russian Sambo specialist Alexander Yakovlev took on 18-fight UFC veteran Demian Maia in his promotional debut, and the results were disastrous for the Octagon newcomer. 

Maia, who was ranked No. 8 in the welterweight division heading into the fight, offered Yakovlev a great opportunity to launch himself right into the thick of things at 170 pounds, but the Russian failed to mount any offense, and he was dominated for the bout’s duration. 

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, Maia, dropped Yakovlev with a big left hand in Round 1, and he moved straight to mount, where he went to work with some heavy ground-and-pound. Yakovlev survived, though, and the fight went to a second round. 

Again, Maia took the fight to the mat and secured the mount, but Yakovlev reversed position and ended up on top. It was all for naught in the end, though, as Maia escaped and pushed the fight to a third round, where he again controlled the fight from the mount. 

In all, this was a standard-affair Demian Maia fight. It was largely contested on the ground, and there aren’t too many welterweights in the world who will come out victorious against Maia in a grappling contest. 

 

What We’ll Remember About This Fight

In his UFC debut, Yakovlev survived Maia’s mount three times, once in each round. 

That’s impressive. 

Despite losing, Yakovlev showed that he can hold off an elite grappler on the ground, and if he can round out his game, he may prove to be a worthy contender in the stacked 170-pound class. 

Otherwise, this was a standard Maia fight. The Brazilian got the fight to the ground on multiple occasions, and he won the battle there as he usually does. 

 

What We Learned About Maia

Maia dropped Yakovlev early in the fight, showing that he has knockdown power in his hands. We hadn’t previously seen that from him, so it’s good to see that he’s adding some pizzazz to his pedestrian stand-up attack. 

Besides that, we saw Maia give up a takedown and fail to capitalize from the mount thrice in this fight, so we arguably unlearned a few things about his unstoppable ground game in that regard.

He dominated a lesser grappler on the ground—nothing new to see here. 

 

What We Learned About Yakovlev

Yakovlev took Maia down and survived the mount on multiple occasions, showing that he can hang with one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world at his own game. While he never won any grappling exchanges, spending several minutes underneath Maia and leaving the cage with no broken limbs and full consciousness is impressive. 

We saw little of his striking game, but Yakovlev looks like a moderately intriguing project moving forward in the welterweight division. 

 

What’s Next for Maia?

It’s rare that the UFC matches up a fighter coming off a win with a fighter coming off a loss, but Maia is still a top-10 welterweight, and he deserves top-10 competition. 

Give him Jake Ellenberger, who just lost to Robbie Lawler at UFC 173, and we’ll see which man deserves to stay among the welterweight elite. 

 

What’s Next for Yakovlev? 

Yakovlev needs somebody a little further down the line than Maia. That was just an unfair fight for somebody making his Octagon debut. 

He was overwhelmed, and he needs to take on lesser competition next time out, slowly easing into the top 10 of the division. 

Give him Hernani Perpetuo, a man who lost his UFC debut against Jordan Mein in April, and let’s see who belongs on the big stage.

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FightLine.com
UFC Fight Roundup: Demian Maia, Yan Cabral get new opponents
MMA Fighting
Cabral (11-0) made his much anticipated UFC debut in October, defeating David Mitchell via unanimous decision at UFN 29. Prior to the win, the Nova Uniao fighter earned 10 straight submission victories, including a second-round win over MMA legend …
Replacement Alexander Yakovlev meets Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 42MMAjunkie.com
Alexander Yakovlev steps in to fight Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 5/31Bloody Elbow
Demian Maia now meets UFC newcomer Alexander Yakovlev at "The Ultimate MMATorch

all 6 news articles »

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UFC 170 was a fairly bland card in terms of star power Saturday night from Las Vegas. It wasn’t helped by the last-minute replacement of Rashad Evans by Patrick Cummins and the attempts to create a narrative around that mismatch. Despite the one-minute finishes in both the main and co-main events which failed to get going, one fight really saved the card for me.

The true fight of the night, and one which was a treat on all levels, was Demian Maia vs. Rory MacDonald.

 

Fork in the Road

Both Maia and MacDonald have been on the end of some pretty severe criticism in recent performances.

Maia was once the most feared grappler in MMA, but then he tried to round out his game and began to get involved in mediocre stand-up affairs. MacDonald, for his part, was considered the new breed: an all around killer, but his snoozefest against Jake Ellenberger turned that around over night. 

MacDonald suffered exactly the same problem as his stablemate, Georges St. Pierre. His jab worked so well that once it was removed, by meeting a southpaw, he had no other weapons. Robbie Lawler beat him up and knocked him down in their match in November, and MacDonald was out of title contention and back to the drawing board.

At UFC 170, despite their fight providing a clear-cut winner, we got to see both men returning to what made them so great.

 

The Leg Weave/Dope Mount

Maia showed immediately that he is still the premier grappler in mixed martial arts as he quickly took down MacDonald with a single leg. MacDonald showed that tendency we have been seeing from wrestlers in recent months to use butterfly guard, because of the opportunities it can allow to scramble back up to the feet.

What Maia did so masterfully on the ground was to constantly look to remove one of MacDonald’s hooks, taking away a good deal of control from MacDonald.

Once he had achieved this, Maia would look to use a hip switch to drive his knee across the middle of MacDonald’s guard and achieve a leg weave position. This position is variously called a smash pass, a leg weave, dope mount or even Penn mount, after B.J. Penn who utilized it a great deal against Jens Pulver, Takanori Gomi and others.

Notice how as soon as MacDonald attempts to elevate Maia’s hips (and he can only do it on one side now, making it a predictable action), Maia switches his hips and drives that knee to the mat. This crosses MacDonald’s legs and flattens them. From here, Maia lands a nice knee and moves into mount.

Here’s Penn achieving the same position against Pulver in their first meeting. 

You can also see Penn hitting variations of the pass in several clips in this excellent piece of guard-passing collection. Being Penn, he would often chill out in the dope mount and soften his opponent with punches to the face.

Shinya Aoki also uses this pass masterfully in MMA.

It was beautiful to watch Maia show the kind of high-level jiu-jitsu we have all wanted to see from him since he began his attempts to become a more rounded fighter and forgot his BJJ roots.

MacDonald showed the incredible value of the butterfly guard in the third round, however, as he used it to create space and get back to his feet.

 

More Than Just the Jab

MacDonald impressed enormously by showing that he has a full arsenal of strikes, not just the same flicking jab which he stuck to against Ellenberger. MacDonald’s jab, however, still found far more of a home than it should have against a southpaw.

Notice how low Maia carries his lead hand. It might not look particularly low, and if he were against a fighter in the same stance as him, it wouldn’t matter much, but that lead hand is the check to the jab in a southpaw vs. orthodox (open guard) engagement.

In an “open guard” battle it is supposed to be hard to land jabs. You are supposed to get “crossed swords” and check each other’s attempts at the jab. Maia’s low lead hand, which he carries that way in hopes of landing his money right hook when his opponent steps in, means that MacDonald was able to thread the needle with his jab all night.

It is fairly easy to parry a straight punch across the body or downward. It is much, much harder to parry a punch outward. Think the difference between your bench press and your back hand. It’s not impossible, some Thai’s set up knees by parrying jabs outward by reaching over the top of the punch, but few fighters can parry a punch with their parrying hand beginning inside their shoulder and finishing outside of it.

It’s just not how your body works. 

If you can get a jab going effectively, even just flicking at the opponent’s lead-side eye, from open guard, it can start to cause overreactions in the opponent’s guard, which makes the rear hand straight easier to land. The Japanese boxer, Hozumi Hasegawa, was phenomenal at using a seemingly inconsequential southpaw jab to create a path for his left straight directly to the chin.

Even if Maia had seen the punches coming and tried to get his arm in the way or redirect MacDonald’s blow, he’d have had a hard old time doing it. If his hand had been up, level with his shoulder, checking MacDonald’s lead and denying it the straight path, the fight could have turned out differently.

Lawler more than demonstrated how difficult it can be to jab against a southpaw with a good defensive lead hand.

It was an absolute pleasure, however, to witness the return of MacDonald’s body kicks. MacDonald has all manner of kicks along all different trajectories. He doesn’t just show the same roundhouse kick with the top of the foot or shin again and again, as Maia often does. No, MacDonald with land with the shin, the top of the foot or the ball of the foot, and he will change target and angle.

And goodness did it work. By Round 2, Maia looked exhausted from some of the biting body kicks which MacDonald had thrown. Each time Maia’s head came forward, up came a front snap kick at his chin, or a roundhouse kick at his head. Every time these kicks forced Maia back upright it was back to the stiff one-two, or the kicks to the body.

You will always hear me saying how undervalued body strikes are in general in MMAparticularly long kicks to the body, and especially snap kicks with the ball of the foot. Watching MacDonald when he is on his game is akin to seeing what Katsunori Kikuno (click here to read my high opinions of that guy’s style) could do with a fully rounded skill set and some top-flight experience inside the UFC under his karate black belt.

Even though Maia was severely outmatched on the feet, he did show a neat counter kick which we rarely see in MMA. That is to kick the standing leg underneath an opponent’s kick. The best consistent example of this counter throughout a fight is, of course, Fedor Emelianenko vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.

Whether you cared about the main and co-main event or not, Maia vs. MacDonald is worth catching up on because it provided a technical chess match and a blood-and-guts battle.

Pick up Jack’s eBooks Advanced Striking and Elementary Striking from his blog, Fights Gone ByJack can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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Outside of the quick finishes put forth by champion Ronda Rousey and top contender Daniel Cormier, UFC 170 offered some good, old-fashioned veteran action.

Two of those recognizable names were welterweights Mike Pyle and Demian Maia.

Both coming off their own heart-breaking and frustrating defeats, each UFC mainstay was aiming to impress and start off 2014 on a good note.

Unfortunately, only Pyle escaped Saturday’s Las Vegas main card with a victory, ending TJ Waldburger late in the third round. Maia lost to Rory MacDonald via unanimous decision.

Now, while neither welterweight is close to challenging for a title—even though Maia was recently considered a fathomable option to do so—it’s still important to understand their careers may be heading in opposite directions.

On one hand you have Pyle, a true veteran of the sport who often excels late into fights by tapping into an endless holster of experience and raw gusto.

Since the beginning of 2012, “Quicksand” has sunk every one of his opponents besides the red-hot Matt Brown back in August. His resurgence over the past two years has included three TKOs and one knockout, which stands as one of his most impressive stretches of finishes in his lengthy career.

Waldburger isn’t a top threat in the division, but a win over him not only proved Pyle can rebound from a crushing defeat so late into his career, but it proved he could out-craft a younger and more athletic opponent.

His victory was truly a step in the right direction as he works his way to the welterweight’s Top 10.

On the other hand we have Demain Maia, a Brazilian submission specialist well known for his ability to grind an opponent down to sheer bone.

But what became evident at UFC 170 when Maia was defeated by MacDonald—even despite his recent success as a newly positioned threat in the welterweight division—is that the 36-year-old is on the last legs of his career.

Coming into his fight with MacDonald, a superior athlete who pushes the pace from the first round to the last, Maia had to know his conditioning would be called into question. He had to know he would need to be in the best shape of his life.

Unfortunately for Maia, in a loss that showcased his inability to maintain fluency and consistency following an early fight energy dump, he was more than likely in the best shape of his career and still looked like a suffocating catfish.

So what does this mean? It’s pretty simple. Another defining defeat at the hands of a more athletic competitor and the Brazilian will start to be scratched off many lists around the sport.

 

For more UFC news and coverage, .

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UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey not only walked away from UFC 170 with a victory in the main event, but “Rowdy” also pocketed a “Performance of the Night” bonus for her efforts.

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ESPN (blog)
UFC 170 live blog: Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia
MMA Fighting
Rory MacDonald and Demian Maia will try to remain title shot chase at UFC 170. – Esther Lin, MMA Fighting. ×. Get the latest UFC, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) News, Results news with MMA Fighting. Follow MMA Fighting on Twitter. Like MMA Fighting 
MacDonald scores comeback decision win over MaiaNinemsn
UFC 170: Rory MacDonald Vs. Demian Maia Fight BreakdownLowKickMMA
UFC 170 a proving ground for MacDonaldESPN (blog)
MMAjunkie.com -MMAmania.com -MMAFrenzy.com
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Rory MacDonald and Demian Maia were moving up the welterweight rankings in 2013, but then both suffered setbacks.

The matchup at UFC 170 would help put one back on the winning track toward gaining a title shot later this year.

Maia turned in a beautiful first round. He took MacDonald down and controlled the action. MacDonald defended well, survived and came back strong in the second.

Maia looked gassed in Round 2. MacDonald capitalized on this and punished his opponent with a variety of strikes. Maia remained in the fight, but he looked dead in the water as the fight drew longer. MacDonald piled it on in the third en route to a unanimous decision. The performance showed the importance of cardio.

 

What We’ll Remember About MacDonald vs. Maia

We will remember MacDonald’s resilience the most from this fight.

Being underneath Maia is a terrifying position to be in, but MacDonald weathered the storm. As he took Maia deeper into the fight, the easier the takedown was to defend, and the easier the target Maia became.

MacDonald could have packed it up in that first round, but he did not. He showed his superior conditioning and striking. A quality performance from the Tristar product.

 

What We Learned About MacDonald

MacDonald has no quit in him and showed what kind of shape he is in.

When he was taken down in the third, he was able to get back to his feet rather quickly and finish out the round strong.

MacDonald kept a good pace throughout the fight and did not tail off much in his output. That is a big plus for him in this division. MacDonald’s cardio cost him years ago against Carlos Condit, and he has certainly put that behind him. He looked outstanding.

 

What We Learned About Maia

We learned that Maia is a front-runner. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but it makes him a sitting duck past the first frame.

He shoots from way outside, putting everything into his strikes, and it causes him to tire out quickly. The upper-echelon fighters of this division are not going to tire after five minutes. It hurts Maia’s chances of ever becoming a serious threat in the division.

He’s a gatekeeper.

 

What’s Next for MacDonald

UFC 171 will be very telling for MacDonald’s future. If Tyron Woodley knocks off Condit, then that would be an ideal opponent for a title-eliminator bout.

If Condit wins, it seems like he will get the next title shot, taking that fight off the table for MacDonald.

Another good fight on the card is between Jake Shields and Hector Lombard. Should Condit come out on top at UFC 171, then MacDonald should be opposite the winner of that fight.

 

What’s Next for Maia

As a newly minted gatekeeper at 170 pounds, Maia should take on one of the UFC’s up-and-coming prospects who is close to the top 15 spots.

Maia would be a very stiff test for any of those young bucks, but they need to be tossed into the fire to see if they have what it takes.

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    The founder of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu -- Eddie Bravo -- failing to comply with the necessary arrangements to head to the United Kingdom to host a seminar, was reportedly arrested and deported back to the United States. The grappling wizard, best known to MMA fans as the first American to ever submit a Gracie family […]
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