Demian Maia will finally get his chance to fight for welterweight gold when he takes on UFC champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 214 on July 29 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The Brazilian veteran has waited a long time to get his second shot at a UFC title and will look to overthrow Woodley with world-class grappling. That is, of course, if Maia can drag Woodley to the ground.
According to Woodley’s training partner, former Bellator champion and current ONE FC champion Ben Askren, Maia will struggle to do just that.
“The thing is, I don’t think it’s going to hit the floor,” Askren told BJ Penn Radio. “That’s the thing about it. You know, Demian Maia’s takedowns are… they’re basic. The one thing he does well is he really sticks with it. But you look at his recent run of success, and he hasn’t really had to fight any high-level wrestlers. And even Jorge Masvidal, – I don’t want to say [he has] no wrestling background, I’m not 100% sure – I don’t think he has any wrestling background, was able to stop some of the takedowns, you know? And so, when you look at Tyron Woodley who has a very strong wrestling background, I just don’t see a scenario in which Demian Maia is able to get Tyron on the ground.”
Askren, 32, is one of the very best fighters competing outside of UFC. The undefeated wrestler is a menace on the ground and a guy who is extremely difficult to defend. Having Askren around to plan for Maia’s swift takedown attacks is only going to improve Woodley’s chances of winning at UFC 214.
“Even in those positions, Tyron’s really good in those positions,” Askren explained. “So even if Demian gets past the first and second-level defense, the movement and the sprawl… say he even gets to the leg and gets to a decent position, I still feel like even from there, or even from a body lock, he’s not going to get the takedown. Even if you were to ask me before I was working with him, I would have said ‘Demian’s going to have a hard time getting a takedown.’ Now I can’t foresee a scenario in which Demian gets a takedown.”
If Askren is right in his assessment and Maia is unable to get inside on Woodley and put him on his back, there’s almost no chance the Brazilian will win the fight. Woodley is a huge power puncher who possesses unparalleled athleticism at 170 pounds. If Maia is forced to stand and trade with the UFC champion it isn’t going to end well.
UFC 214 will be headlined by a light heavyweight title rematch pitting current champion Daniel Cormier against former divisional king Jon Jones.
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