Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight contenders Carlos Condit and Demian Maia will clash TONIGHT (Aug. 27, 2016) at UFC on FOX 21 inside Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada. Condit came within inches of stealing the strap from Robbie Lawler back in January, and now he’s itching to get back into the title hunt. Despite clearly being a top talent, Condit hasn’t won consecutive fights in some time, so this is a very important bout for him. Meanwhile, Maia is doing his best to make one last title run. Having beaten multiple top 10 foes in his current win streak, Maia is looking to earn a title shot with a victory tonight.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for both athletes:
Key Wins: Rory MacDonald (UFC 115), Nick Diaz (UFC 144), Thiago Alves (UFC Fight Night 67), Dong-Hyun Kim (UFC 132)
Key Losses: Georges St-Pierre (UFC 154), Robbie Lawler (UFC 195), Johny Hendricks (UFC 158)
Keys to Victory: Condit is an exceptional and aggressive Muay Thai striker who utilizes all sorts of techniques and combinations in the hopes of damaging his foe. He's also a skilled grappler, and together these offensive attributes have allowed him to finish 28 of his total opponents.
This is definitely a tough style match up for Condit, who's never been known for his takedown defense. Usually, when fighters look to take him down, they succeed, but at least Condit is able to fend his foe off with elbows and submissions from his back.
That's not likely to work against Maia.
Really, Condit's biggest advantages in this fight are his cardio, and the fact that this is a 25 minute bout. In order to make use of those traits, Condit must do his best to exhaust Maia early on.
Simply put, Condit will not be able to defend the takedown early. However, he can set himself up for success later by kicking to the body and landing elbows during the wrestling and grappling exchanges. Additionally, if Condit is able to reverse the back mount and force Maia to work hard, it will benefit him in the long run.
Over time, Maia will tire, and few men are better at battering a tired foe than Carlos Condit.
Key Wins: Neil Magny (UFC 190), Rick Story (UFC 160), Gunnar Nelson (UFC 195), Dong Hyun Kim (UFC 148)
Key Losses: Anderson Silva (UFC 112), Rory MacDonald (UFC 170), Jake Shields (UFC Fight Night 29)
Keys to Victory: Maia has been one of the top talents in the sport since he carved up much of the Middleweight division back in 2008. The strength of his style has never changed in that time; very few men can stop or survive Maia's relentless onslaught of chain takedowns, smashing passing, and back control.
Much like all of his recent fights, Maia will be able to score the takedown while he's fresh. He's quite arguably the most effective wrestler in the division, and top heavy grappler has always been a style that Condit has struggled opposite.
As mentioned above, conditioning is the greatest threat to the 38-year-old Brazilian. He slowed down in his last five round fight, and Condit is far better at capitalizing on a tired foe than Ryan LaFlare.
An early submission would be ideal.
Barring that, Maia needs to make sure to set up his shots well. At times, he shoots from too far out, forcing himself to work very hard and exhaust himself. Condit will be hesitant to trade due to the takedown anyway, so Maia can use that to his advantage and get in a bit closer before changing levels.
In the long run, it could be very helpful.
Bottom Line: The winner is very close to a title shot, while the loser’s future is unclear.
Condit came so close to defeating Lawler that it’s hard to really consider it a loss, but that’s the official result nonetheless. If he tastes defeat here as well, he’s lost five of his last seven bouts. For someone who’s fought professionally for 14 years and has hinted at retirement before, that could be the final straw. On the other hand, a win puts Condit very close to the title. For example, Stephen Thompson is definitely next in line and will likely be a favorite opposite Woodley.
Just about every fight fan in existence would love to see Condit and "Wonderboy" throw down.
Maia has been winning consistently, but this is also his last chance at a title run. His skills haven’t declined, but his habit of slowing down late in the fight isn’t likely to get better as he grows older. With that said, Maia undoubtedly deserves a title shot following a win here. If he comes up short, there are still high-level fights available for the jiu-jitsu master, but he’s not likely to find himself in another title eliminator bout like this anytime soon.
TONIGHT at UFC on FOX 21, Carlos Condit and Demian Maia will collide in the main event. Which athlete will have his hand raised?