Demian Maia was supposed to face off with Josh Koscheck this weekend, but an injury to Koscheck has left him unable to compete. Instead of finding a replacement, the UFC has opted to hook Maia up in a match with Jake Shields for later this year. There has been no event or date announced for the bout, but that may be because the fight card itself has not been announced. There was the rumor of Vitor Belfort fighting in Brazil this fall, and that would make sense if that fight card happens to have Maia on it as well.
Shields has had a rough go of things these last few years, but he has a huge shot to redeem himself with a win over Maia. Since losing his title shot in April of 2011, Shields has gone 2-1-0-1. His only wins were a boring decision over Yoshihiro Akiyama, and a close split decision, that many people didn’t think he won, over Tyron Woodley. He also had a win over Ed Herman that was overturned due to a failed drug test, and his only loss was a 53-second knockout loss to top ten welterweight Jake Ellenberger. This pails in comparison to how Maia has been fighting lately.
Maia was still a top ten fighter at middleweight when he decided to drop down to welterweight. Since moving to 170, he has had three very impressive wins. The first came over the always tough Dong Hyun Kim, next he became the first person to finish and submit Rick Story. His most impressive win had to come over Jon Fitch in a fight where he dominated the AKA fighter better than even GSP did. That is why the fight against Koscheck did not make too much sense, and this one only makes a little bit more sense.
The most intriguing part of this fight will be in the grappling portion, because both of these fighters have great grappling acumen. Maia is a 4th degree BJJ black belt who Frank Mir credits for bringing his grappling game, "To a whole other level." Shields is also a BJJ black belt, but he usually uses it to stifle his opponent’s game. He has also never been submitted which would be a big accomplishment for Maia since he would be the first to do so if he is able to submit Maia. So, watch out for this fight if you are a fan of BJJ in MMA.