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UFC on Fox 21 Pick

MMA Fight: UFC on Fox 21: Maia vs. Condit
Key Matches: Demian Maia vs. Carlos Condit
When: Saturday, August 27, 2016
Time: 9:00PM EST
Where: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, Canada
TV: Fox

by Loot, MMA Handicapper,

Demian Maia, (+100), 23-6 (3 KOs, 11 Submissions) vs. Carlos Condit, (-140), 30-9 (15 KOs, 13 Submissions)

In the main event of UFC on Fox 21, Demian Maia and Carlos Condit meet in a critical 170-pound match. The winner establishes himself as a compelling title contender. Both fighters are highly-decorated fighters with deep resumes in the 170-pound division. They have taken their share of lumps in one of MMA's deepest weight classes, but have survived and are still on the precipice of big things. The stakes, therefore, are very high entering this fight.

Condit has partaken in some big welterweight fights in his UFC tenure. He lost in title fights to Georges St-Pierre and Robbie Lawler—both in competitive fights. He has been right on the cusp. He never seems to catch a break—both with the judges and in other areas. A knee injury led to a TKO loss to Tyron Woodley in a key recent welterweight bout. In Maia, Condit will be facing one of the UFC's most stalwart veterans—a winner of five in a row who holds 17 UFC wins in his 9-year UFC tenure. Both men are at a point in their careers where they need something to happen now and losing this fight would put their career back immeasurably.

Condit's nickname is the "Natural Born Killer" and that's not totally an exaggeration. With 15 knockouts and 13 submissions, 28 of his 30 wins have ended inside the distance. He's a vicious fighter who looks to finish fights and he has a variety of different skills to bring that to fruition. He has certainly taken some tough losses, but only to the absolute cream of the crop. And even those fights fell short of being decisive losses. It's been a decade since Condit absorbed anything that could be termed a clear-cut loss. He will try to avoid that fate against Maia.

Maia is likely the most formidable study in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in all of mixed martial arts. Whereas most fighters are like overturned turtles on their backs, Maia is right in his wheelhouse. His BJJ is clean and instinctive and he's taken opponents who thought they were poised to win and crushed their dreams while on his back. Sometimes, Maia looks pretty predictable as he tries to take the fight to the ground and he still somehow is able to do it. And while his movements aren't always the most-athletic, he's a big 170-pounder and an absolute handful for anyone in the division.

Maia has also been around a long time. In 2010, he lost a 5-round decision in a middleweight title try against Anderson Silva. Since joining the UFC, Maia has defeated name fighters like Chael Sonnen, Kendall Grove, Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story, Jon Fitch, Neil Magny, and Matt Brown. Maia is so confident in his jiu-jitsu that he'll pretend he's hurt and capitalize on his opponent's killer instincts so that he can trap them when he's on his back. If you engage him, it's like falling into quicksand. Opponents think they are primed to do some ground-and-pound, only to soon find their legs pinned, their hips deprived of all power, and forced to commit with their hands, at which point Maia does damage.

In other words, Maia's ground fighting is so advanced that no one can really compete on the ground with him unless they are a terrific grappler along the lines of Jake Shields. But Condit is no Jake Shields and getting on the ground with Maia is a tough proposition. If you don't knock out Maia, you're in big trouble. And Maia can hit hard too, so standing up with him is no gimme. And at 170 as opposed to 185, Maia is a really hard guy to beat.

Maia is getting up there at age 38, with Condit a well-traveled 32 years of age. Maia has good size at 170, standing 6 feet and very robust for 170 pounds. Condit has good length at 6-feet-two and also has a few inches in reach against Maia. Both fighters are veterans and should be primed to show the best side of themselves in this bout. Can Condit avoid the fate of some recent Maia opponents? We see Maia throwing guys like Neil Magny and Gunner Nelson around and it's clear that Condit will need to be at the top of his game.

Truth be told, the ones who have enjoyed the most success against Condit have been guys who take him down. But let's not forget that Condit is no one-dimensional plodder. He is also very sneaky and can work off his back and apply submission moves in sudden and unexpected fashion. He can capitalize off of his opponents' mistakes. On top of that, he has a dimension to his MMA that Maia doesn't really bring to the table—his ability as a world-class kickboxer. And again, he does it sneakily, with an unorthodox style replete with bizarre strikes and other moves that keep opponents on high-alert. Flying knees and jump-in elbows are all a part of Condit's make-up. And fighting out of the Jackson-Winkeljohn camp in New Mexico, you can also count on a good game-plan for Condit when he steps into the octagon against Maia.


What I like about Condit is that within a game-plan, he is able to improvise and be creative. He has imagination as a fighter. He has different routes to victory, any of which are viable. You never know what he's going to do. With Maia, he's not as one-dimensional as he used to be, but his newfound striking ability doesn't resonate as well against a true natural striker like Condit. Then again, you could say Condit's ground-game skills won't translate well against the master of the ground in Maia.

Maia is 6 years older than Condit, but one can get the feeling that he is peaking, while Condit has maybe ebbed ever so slightly. That's not to imply that Condit is over the hill, but he's faced a more-demanding roster of opponents in the past several years and may have accrued some wear and tear. I see this as being a more-favorable style matchup for Maia, as those who thrive against Condit are usually fighters who can get him on the floor. I think Maia represents some interesting underdog value and I'll make him my pick.

Loot's Pick to Win the Match: I'm betting on Demian Maia at +100. Did you know... that you could be wagering on fights at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying inflated odds with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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