Five reasons Demian Maia can beat Anderson Silva
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Here are five reasons why the submission specialist can beat the middleweight champ at UFC 112 this Saturday.
Silva's been submitted before
Of the four losses on Silva's record, one was a decision, another a disqualification, and the other two were submissions. Silva’s grappling isn’t on the same level as Maia’s – the challenger has won the prestigious ADCC grappling tournament, and used to get the better of the Nogueira brothers (the men who gave Silva his black belt) when training with them.
Maia’s probably learned his lesson
Generally speaking, Silva isn’t the kind of fighter who comes after you – he’s usually content to counterpunch, which is why he blasts through fighters who wade in throwing punches (eg, Griffin and Irvin) and rarely knocks out people who won’t engage (Leites, Cote). Hopefully Maia’s learned from his brutal knockout loss against Marquadt, and sticks to cautious strikes designed to give him openings for the takedown, rather than marching forward with his chin out.
Silva knows Silva
Maia's been training with Wanderlei Silva – who recently beat Britain’s Michael Bisping – to improve his striking. Wanderlei and Anderson were team-mates at the respected Chute Box Academy, and they’re both masters of the Muay Thai clinch so Maia should have developed the skills he'll need to cope with Anderson’s clinching.
Maia can wrestle, Silva not so much
Thales Leites made a crucial mistake while preparing for his UFC 97 bout with Silva – he assumed that Silva would follow him to the ground, and spent much of the fight trying to lure the master striker into a grappling bout by flopping to his back. Maia will try (and quite possibly be able) to do the opposite – get Silva on his back. Read on to find out why that's very bad for Silva.
Maia is not Travis Lutter
After Silva's vicious stoppage of Travis Lutter - a triangle choke with an extra helping of elbows to the head, it's easy to forget that Lutter, an accomplished BJJ black belt, actually mounted Silva in their fight. Silva threw up his arms - a basic BJJ mistake - and Lutter went for a sloppy armbar, which let Silva escape. That won't happen with Maia. If he gets on top of you and you don't defend perfectly, he is going to choke you out, as he did to Chael Sonnen at UFC 95.