Can Silva Be Stopped? Yes, But Not by Maia
Preview by Brady Crytzer
In its first appearance in the Middle East, the UFC presents a night of title fights with UFC 112: Unstoppable. Featuring Anderson “The Spider” Silva defending his world middleweight title against fellow Brazilian Demian Maia, Silva looks to continue his record breaking winning streak as he attempts to make it eleven straight, ten of those being in title fights. Although he was originally scheduled to face the blistering striker Vitor Belfort, Maia has stepped in to present an entirely different type of challenge. Is Maia’s world class submission game enough to stop Silva in his tracks? Read on as Brady Crytzer presents his take on the main event of UFC 112.
Striking: It is hard to remember a title fight with as many lopsided intangibles as this one. Anderson “The Spider” Silva is the most impressive striker in all of mixed martial arts. While he is not especially fast or powerful, Silva possesses a unique comfort in the stand up realm that makes him nearly incomprehensible. Case in point, during his 2009 bout with Forrest Griffin Silva put on a defensive clinic against his wild brawling opponent. He finished the show with a fall-away jab that crumpled the much larger Griffin. Had Griffin been hit harder? Certainly. “The Spider” employs a world of experience to effectively demonstrate the appropriate way to strike an opponent. It isn’t wild, it doesn’t loop, but it lands with minimal effort and with maximum effect. You simply can’t teach that. Maia has proven to be a fish out of water on the feet, and Silva is the wrong person to test yourself against.
Silva enjoys what is possibly the most significant striking advantage ever seen in a UFC title fight against Demian Maia. For the challenger, it’s downright scary.
Grappling: For as onesided as the stand up realm is, Maia can go confidently knowing that he is the best jiu jitsu black belt in the sport over 170 lbs. Maia has choke and wrenched his way to the top by submitting fighters the likes of Chael Sonnen, Nate Quarry, and Jason MacDonald. While most jiu jitsu aces have trouble adjusting their game to the unpredictable world of MMA, Maia has shown that he possesses the guts and the guile to work his submission magic against most opponents. Silva is no slouch on the ground as he himself holds a black belt, but not all black belts are created equal. Silva has held his own on the mat against Dan Henderson and Travis Lutter, there is a lot to be said about that.
Anderson will not fold to the submission attack of Maia like his previous opponents have, but on the ground this fight is as close as it is ever going to get for Maia.
How They Match Up: Demian Maia has taken this fight on late notice, but it wasn’t short notice. He has had plenty of time to prepare for his Middleweight Title showdown. Unfortunately he could have had two years to train for this fight and it probably wouldn’t have helped.
Anderson Silva is the best fighter in the world. There is no reasonable debate against that. He is, however, on the downward slope. Top level black belts rarely submit each other, and judging by Maia’s stand up he really doesn’t have a chance to win. The biggest threat to the aging Silva now is a devastating striker with considerable one punch power and speed. Silva is not an incredibly quick striker, but his timing makes him nearly flawless. If a fighter can surprise him with a quick shot that has KO power, he can hurt him.
That being said, Demian Maia is just not that fighter. He is undersized for 185 pounds and has questionable issues surrounding his chin. He can avoid Silva and take this to the second round, but his takedowns are too weak to grapple the champion to the floor.
Simply put: Maia can’t take Silva down and therefore can’t produce effective offense. Silva will keep this fight on the feet and use the challengers head as target practice.
Nothing against Maia, but this is a bad matchup for him anyway you look at it. Silva by TKO round two.