Saturday at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, UFC middleweight champion Anderson “the Spider” Silva (25-4) will put his title on the line again against Demian Maia (12-1). Silva is 10-0 since joining the UFC in 2006 and has demolished every opponent he’s faced. Maia is one of the top Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters in the world and has compiled a 6-1 record in the UFC and has defeated all his foes via submission.
This main event fight is a classic striker versus grappler match and Maia is relishing the opportunity.
“How many people are going to have a shot? How many people want to have the chance to fight for the title against the best fighter in the world?” Maia asked rhetorically. “I don’t want to go there and just fight. I want to go there and leave that Octagon with the belt.”
Maia isn’t taking Silva lightly and he knows he’s in for the fight of his life.
“I think he’s the best fighter in the world. He’s the most complete fighter in the world. But he’s a man. He has his weakness. Anderson Silva for sure can be defeated. Any man can be defeated. I will be the man that will give the toughest time for him in the Octagon.”
Maia’s only career loss came to fellow middleweight standout Nate Marquardt. Maia was knocked out in just 21 seconds at UFC 102. That loss could serve him well as a reminder to take the fight where he is at his strongest.
“I’m sure about my style. I’m sure that I always go to fight. I always go to be aggressive,” Maia stated. “I know he’s going to come in to knock me out. At the same time, I go to the submission really bad. If I got his arm or his neck he’s going to be in trouble.”
Only Travis Lutter and Dan Henderson have provided a a glimpse of Silva’s vulnerability since he joined the UFC. Lutter had Silva in a full mount position in the first round and Henderson controlled Silva for most of their first round with his wrestling and ground and pound. However, Silva is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt himself and ultimately submitted both fighters in the second round.
Maia will look to try to employ the same strategy as Lutter and Henderson against Silva—winning the fight on the mat. He will try to succeed where they failed.
Maia predicts, “As soon as I get the chance, I will put him down.”
Demian Maia will need to answer two questions at UFC 112 on Saturday. can he bring the fight to the mat? And can he capitalize if he does?