Since making his Welterweight debut in July 2012, Maia has won nine and lost two. His two losses were to well decorated opponents and former 170lb title challengers, Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald. However, along the way Maia has knocked off some stiff competition. He boasts wins over the likes of Dong Hyun Kim, Jon Fitch, Gunnar Nelson and Matt Brown.
Maia’s last outing was his most impressive to date.He was able to dispatch former title holder and highly ranked Welterweight, Carlos Condit, in just one round. He also became the first man to submit Condit inside the octagon and has finished three of his last four fights by rear-naked choke. Maia has a professional MMA record of 24 wins and six losses with all of his losses coming to household names in the MMA world. Chris Weidman, Nate Marquardt, Anderson Silva, Mark Munoz, and the aforementioned Jakes Shields and Rory MacDonald are the only men to beat Maia to date.
Can Masvidal get the biggest (and most important) win of his career to date?
Maia’s opponent, Jorge Masvidal, is starting to find his own in the talent-stacked Welterweight division. Masvidal is coming off two straight TKO victories over Jake Ellenberger and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone respectively. The latter in fascinating fashion by way of second round TKO win, with many believing the fight should have been stopped at the end of round one. Masvidal has a mixed professional MMA record of 35 wins and 11 losses but is an incredibly difficult opponent to finish. Jorge has never been stopped inside the UFC or Strikeforce so Maia definitely will have his hands full on the night.
Maia’s route to victory is quite clear. He has to take Masvidal to the ground and use his world class BJJ skills to try and pull of another slick submission. Masvidal on the other hand will be looking to do the opposite and keep the fight standing at all costs. Masvidal has shown some improvements in his takedown defence and if he can keep Maia off him, the Brazilian will be in for one tough night. With title ramifications at stake, I fully expect an exciting and highly technical chess type match, with both men looking to avoid the others strong suit.
UFC 211 is shaping up to be one of the cards of 2017 and goes down May 13th live from the American Airline Center in Houston, Texas.