UFC on Fox 21 Primer: Carlos Condit vs. Demian Maia Head-to-Toe Breakdown
On the heels of UFC 202 the leader in mixed martial arts heads to Vancouver, British Columbia for a welterweight showdown between two of the top contenders at 170 pounds.
No. 4 contender Demian Maia (23-6) meets No. 5 Carlos Condit (30-9).
Maia is riding a five-fight win streak into the main event on Saturday, and a win over Condit would make his resume the most accomplished of the list of contenders for the welterweight strap. The Brazilian is seeking his first title shot since challenging Anderson Silva at UFC 112 more than six years ago.
Condit comes off a failed title bid at UFC 195. He dropped a split decision to then-champion Robbie Lawler. A Condit victory moves him back into position to lay claim to a future title shot.
The newly minted UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, will have his eyes set on this matchup.
Will Condit end Maia's hopes and dreams, or will Maia continue his dominance with a watermark victory?
Want the answer? Hit the next slide to get started with the head-to-toe breakdown for the UFC on Fox 21 main event.
At a base-level this matchup is a striker vs. grappler fight. Condit is the striker in this instance.
Condit offers up a full range of an offensive arsenal. Perhaps more importantly, Condit is a high-volume striker. He keeps a high pace for the entire fight no matter if it is three or five rounds. Condit can knock his opponents out in the first or overwhelm them in the championship rounds.
Maia has drastically improved his striking since his UFC debut nearly a decade ago, but he's still nowhere near Condit's level.
Condit's output is not the lone difference, but it is one of the most noticeable. Per FightMetric, Condit lands 3.8 significant strikes per minute compared to Maia's 1.83.
It's always possible for a single shot to end the night of an opponent no matter the discrepancy in striking, but it's 99-to-1 that if this fight is fought completely on the feet it will result in a Condit victory.
The grappling portion of this fight is compelling.
Condit does not look for takedowns often, but he has the skill set to employ them if need be. Although against someone the caliber of Maia, he likely won't choose to go that route. Likewise, Maia has exceptional takedowns with trips and a single leg.
Where the grappling gets interesting is against the cage.
The battle against the fence for positioning purposes will be key for both men. Maia needs the outside position to drop for his single leg takedowns, and Condit can stifle Maia by controlling him while landing short knees to the midsection.
Maia gets the edge for being the more proactive grappler, but Condit can hold his own.
This is a clear-cut advantage for Maia.
Condit has solid submission abilities of his own, but Maia is on a whole other level. He's not a Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion for nothing.
Maia has also proven those abilities in the cage against excellent competition. Submissions over Chael Sonnen, Rick Story, Neil Magny and Matt Brown are just a few of his highlights. Condit will not be an easy out even if the fight hits the floor, but Maia is an expert in this field.
Over the course of five rounds expect this fight to go to the mat at least once. Have your popcorn ready.
Condit's X-Factor: Leg Kicks
Condit has excellent kicks, but he may be more reluctant to throw them against Maia. The chance that Maia could catch a kick and take Condit down is very real, but Condit needs to throw and land his kicks in this matchup.
Damaging Maia's leg will have big effects in the fight. He won't be able to explode forward to close the distance, nor will he be able to have meaningful power in his strikes. Condit just needs to take calculated risks in order to take away one of Maia's biggest paths to victory.
Maia's X-Factor: Closing the Distance
Condit is a tall fighter who knows how to use his reach. Maia cannot be stuck on the outside all fight.
How he chooses to get inside will be telling of his game plan, and his success in doing so will be key to watch. If he cannot get inside, the window of opportunity to win this fight is almost certainly closed shut.
Maia needs to get the fight to the fence, secure the outside position and do what he does best.
According to OddsShark.com, Maia opened as nearly a 2-to-1 favorite but has been bet down to a virtual pick 'em. That isn't a big shock because the matchup favors Condit quite a bit.
Condit's ability to control the distance makes Maia's path to victory narrow. His high output, exciting and effective striking also means he'll collect the lion's share of the points while the fight is standing. Picking Condit may be the smart pick here.
But I'm taking Maia.
If he can score early takedowns and grind on Condit it will pay off in similar fashion as it did against Matt Brown. It will lead to a late-round submission. Condit can only fight off Maia for so long before succumbing to the Brazilian.
Maia secures a single leg from the clinch, baits Condit and snags a choke in the fourth round. The question following the win will be how can the UFC deny him a title shot after a sixth straight victory. I, for one, don't have the answer to that. He will have earned his chance at glory.
Prediction: Maia defeats Condit via submission in the fourth round