Market: Draw no bet Full event -
Bet: Demian Maia -
Stake: $80 -
Odds: -125 - Betvalue: 30.2%
Demian Maia (1.80) vs. Jorge Masvidal (2.00) – UFC Welterweight Division
Maia is 18-6 in UFC, 24-6 overall. Last 5: W-W-W-W-W
Masvidal is 9-4 in UFC, 32-11 overall. Last 5: L-L-W-W-W
Maia (39) very impressively dispatched Carlos Condit inside two minutes last August. That’s six wins on a trot for the Brazilian with others coming over Matt Brown (submission), Gunnar Nelson (decision), Neil Magny (submission), Ryan LaFlare (decision) and Alexander Yakovlev (decision). His only losses at WW have come against top 5 talents in Rory MacDonald (decision) and Jake Shields (decision). Former MW title challenger, losing to Anderson Silva (decision) and other top 10 opponents Chris Weidman (decision), Nate Marquardt (KO) and Mark Munoz (decision) but overall 9-4 in the division. Elite BJJ (12/24) and fantastic offensive wrestling to go along with it, excellent at timing entries and scoring takedowns against the cage. Striking is by far the weakest part of his game but he’s fully aware of it and is still able to use some basic attacks to set up takedown attempts. Has his own team, Demian Maia Jiu-Jitsu.
Masvidal (32) has built some excellent momentum at WW since moving up to the divison, the highlight being his KO finish of Donald Cerrone in January. Other WW UFC wins over Ross Pearson (decision), Jake Ellenberger (KO) and Cezar Ferreira (KO) with two very narrow split decision losses to Benson Henderson and Lorenz Larkin. Entered the UFC in the Strikeforce merger, where he was 5-1 including a LW title shot loss against Gilbert Melendez (decision). 5-2 as a UFC LW before electing to leave the division including an excellent win over Michael Chiesa (submission) and decision losses to Rustam Khabilov and Al Iaquinta. Excellent boxer, very intelligent use of footwork and the jab. Known for being involved in close fights, lately we’ve seen a real effort from him to win fights in more emphatic fashion. Excellent chin, only stopped once by strikes in 43 pro fights. Trains at American Top Team.
There’s no secret about what Maia wants to do. The odds imply that he has ~55% chance of implementing his BJJ game, but I think that’s being generous towards Masvidal. First of all we need to remember that a few years back these two would have been separated by two weight classes. Maia is a very big and strong WW, something which is very useful when trying to impose his gameplan on opponents. Maia has made taking down strong WW’s with wrestling backgrounds such as Jon Fitch and Rick Story look easy. The other thing about Maia is that he doesn’t just take you down; he advances to dominant positions such as mount or taking the back with amazing efficiency. If he’s doing this to amazing grapplers such as Gunnar Nelson (someone who is comparable to Masvidal in terms of size/strength), I don’t see how Masvidal will be able to prevent the same from happening to him. Masvidal has only been submitted once in 12 years but Condit had gone over a decade without being submitted before Maia tapped him in 112 seconds.
The danger with backing Maia is, if he doesn’t get the finish then is he gassed by the third round? This isn’t entirely impossible, he was unable to do anything to Rory MacDonald after dominating the opening round and there was signs that he was seriously slowing down against Brown in the third round. However, these were both more physically taxing opponents and it would be far more problematic if this was a five round fight. In a three round contest, against an opponent he holds physical advantages over, I think his chances of either finishing the fight or holding on to take a decision are in the 60-65% range. It’s still probably worth a small hedge on Masvidal round 3. Get the best odds for this pick