The UFC travels to Vancouver with one of the better four-fight main cards in recent memory. A five-round bout between welterweight contenders Demian Maia and Carlos Condit headlines the stacked main card.
Demian Maia vs Carlos Condit
Since moving to the welterweight division, Demian Maia has accrued an 8-2 record with those two losses coming against some high-level fighters – Rory MacDonald and Jake Shields.
Maia is quite possibly the greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner in MMA history. The fourth-degree black belt is unparalleled when the fight goes to the mat and has recorded 11 of his 23 career victories via submission. It may seem obvious, but Maia’s extremely lethal if he can get to the back. Once he takes the back, Maia uses the leg triangle to keep an opponent where he wants them while he works for a choke.
There is no doubt that Maia has put time in working on his wrestling and striking game. He is not dumb and he knows grappling is his bread and butter but Maia has developed complementary pieces to get the fight on the ground. The striking game of Maia is basic, but sufficient – with a heavy emphasis on a straight left hand. The wrestling game is built around suffocation and single leg takedowns. Maia will look to back his opponent to the cage and shoot for the single, which he will usually land or transition into back control.
There is no doubt where Maia wants this fight. He is not defensively tight on his feet and could be eating leather all night long is his upright. If this fight turns into a brawl Maia will likely be chewed up and spit out.
Carlos Condit has earned the nickname ‘The Natural Born Killer.’ Condit has picked up 28 of his 30 victories via stoppage with an aggressive style both on the feet and on the ground.
Condit is a volume-based striker who is at his best when he is constantly pressing the action and digging into the body. Though he is usually pushing the pace, Condit is great at reacting to his opponent’s movement. He is able to anticipate where his opponent is moving and throwing a strike to meet them there. Condit is also varied in his striking attack, with equal lethality in his hands and his feet.
Though Condit doesn’t want the fight to make it to the mat, he is just as aggressive on the mat. If he is on top he will throw some ground and pound before trying to transition the fight back to the standup game. When on his back, Condit has one of the most brutal guards in the game. He is constantly throwing elbows and keeping his opponent from passing – plus he loves to throw out a kimura is his opponent leaves their arm exposed.
If there is one major flaw in Condit’s game it is his wrestling. Most of his losses have come against big, strong wrestlers who can hold him down and control the pace. His aggressive pace has helped him hide these wrestling deficiencies on occasion – by forcing his opponent to move backwards – but if he an opponent gets a hold of Condit there is not a ton of resistance.
I hate boiling it down to this, but this is a striker vs grappler matchup. Condit wants to keep the fight standing while Maia wants to bring it to the mat. Either way, one fighter will have a distinct advantage, which makes me believe this is not destined to go five rounds.
Rest Of The Main Card
Anthony Pettis will be making his featherweight debut against Charles Oliveira in the co-main event. Pettis has been largely shut down in his past three fights, as his opponents have decided to grind him and not give him space to strike. Pettis’ striking game is based around the jab and the leg kick, which means space is vital. It has been Pettis’ footwork that has allowed him to properly utilize his strikes, which is why fighters have now started suffocating him. Oliveira is mostly known for his grappling skills, as he is one of the best submission artists in the game today. Once a fight goes to the ground, Oliveira will almost always come away with the win. Oliveira’s standup game is based in Muay Thai and though it has been increasingly improving offensively, ‘Do Bronx’ can still show lapses in protecting himself.
Paige VanZant makes her return to the Octagon after becoming a public darling on Dancing With The Stars. The test won’t be easy, as PVZ will be taking on Bec Rawlings. VanZant is extremely athletic and powerful but is still green in terms of technique. She is a pressure-based striker who initiates the clinch by just running her opponent out of real estate. We saw just how ineffective many of her techniques were against Rose Namajunas. That being said, PVZ is still young and is aware of her issues, which means she may make strides. Rawlings is a tough fighter who tends to take over bouts due to her cardio and tough chin. She has solid boxing and underrated submission skills, but her wrestling leaves something to be desired.
The main card kicks off with a rematch of one of the bloodiest, most exciting bouts in UFC history, as Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller renew acquaintances. Miller is a former collegiate wrestler who holds a black belt in BJJ, which makes him extremely dangerous. However, Miller has no problem standing and banging with his opponent – though sometimes this can be to his own detriment. Lauzon is hyper-aggressive and has the ability to end a fight in every facet of the game – though submissions are his most dangerous weapon. ‘J-Lau’ is an all out fighter, which means he sacrifices his defense in order to push forward and attack.
UFC on Fox 21: Maia vs Condit Betting Odds
Odds as of August 23 at Bodog
- Demian Maia -115
- Carlos Condit -115
- Anthony Pettis -175
- Charles Oliveira +145
- Paige VanZant -190
- Bec Rawlings +155
- Joe Lauzon -140
- Jim Miller +110
- Sam Alvey -225
- Kevin Casey +175
- Chad Laprise -280
- Thibault Gouti +220
- Kyle Bochniak -175
- Enrique Barzola +145
- Shane Campbell -130
- Felipe Silva EVEN
- Alessio Di Chirico -225
- Garreth McLellan +175
- Adam Hunter -185
- Ryan James +150