UFC 153 preview: Demian Maia looks for second welterweight win against Rick Story

Demian Maia(left) will face Rick Story at UFC 153

The UFC 153 PPV will get underway with a welterweight bout between former middleweight contender Demian Maia and the always tough Rick “The Horror” Story. This should be an excellent bout and carries some implications on the pecking order in the division. Let’s see how this one breaks down.

Rick Story (14-5) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Brock Jardine in June. It was a much needed win after suffering back-to-back losses for the first time in his MMA career. Neither loss was particularly bad as he fought welterweight contender Martin Kampmann to a relatively close unanimous decision loss. The other loss came against Charlie Brenneman when he accepted the fight on literally a couple hours notice after his original opponent Nate Marquardt wasn’t sanctioned to fight in the main event. Story is a gritty fighter with a wrestling background. He has an excellent chin and loves to go to the body with his punches and is versed in submissions as well. He has won three fights via TKO/KO and three fights via submission. He has never been stopped in MMA career as all five of his losses have come via judges decision.

Demian Maia (16-4) is coming off a TKO(injury) win over Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 148. That fight was Maia’s welterweight debut, but the fight ended in just 47 seconds as Kim suffered a weird injury to his ribs. So realistically, this is the first fight at welterweight in which we should really see how Maia will be able to perform. Maia is a submission ace with improved striking over the years. He’s crafty at getting fights to the ground and isn’t afraid to pull guard if need be. He has won eight fights via submission and three fights via TKO/KO, and has won “Submission of the Night” honors four times. Maia has only been stopped once in his MMA career, a KO loss against Nate Marquardt in August 2009.

Top Bet has Rick Story as the betting underdog at (+125) with Demian Maia as the betting favorite at (-145).

This should be an entertaining fight. Both fighters are southpaw’s with Maia having a slight reach advantage and maybe slightly larger than Story overall. This fight could be relatively even on the feet with Story coming forward with punches and digging to the body of Maia which could pay dividends later in the fight. Story has the better wrestling pedigree, but I think Maia’s size may be able to negate this advantage. It’s not like Story will really want to go to the ground with Maia anyways as he would be at a disadvantage there. Both fighters have had some cardio issues in the past, but I would say that Story is capable of fighting at a higher pace than Maia.

Story is the more active fighter when it comes to landing significant strikes and is also the tougher fighter to hit according to Fightmetric. He’ll need use good footwork to get in and out of striking range against Maia. He’ll also need to avoid the clinch as the larger Maia is excellent at getting underhooks and using leg trips to take his opponents down. The clinch position would also allow Maia to pull guard if he wanted to as well.

Maia has improved his striking over the years, but I think he’ll have a distinct advantage on the ground against Story. We have seen Story in some tough predicaments on the ground against past opponents, and none of them have jiu-jitsu comparable to Maia.

If Story can keep this fight on the feet I think he has a good chance of pulling the mild upset. He’ll need to pressure Maia and keep him moving backwards while being careful not to allow Maia to clinch with him. If Maia is able to get the fight to the ground I think he’ll be able to submit Story.

I think Maia gets it done, but you certainly can’t count a fighter like Rick Story out as they kid is an absolute bulldog.

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