UFC Fight Night 129: Kamaru Usman vs. Demian Maia Preview
On May 19, Kamaru Usman will now face Demian Maia as the headline fight of UFC Fight Night 129 in Santiago, Chile.
Usman was pencilled in to face 30-fight veteran Santiago Ponzinibbio, but due to injury, the Argentinean had to pull out. Usman was adamant that the replacement was a ranked opponent, which he may come to regret. In Ponzinibbio’s stead, the 25-8-0, ranked number five in the welterweight division, Demian Maia steps in.
Usman vs. Maia: Predictions and Tips
Kamaru Usman boasts a 12-1-0 professional record but is 7-0-0 in the UFC. Currently ranked seventh in the division, his manager refers to him as one of the most avoided fighters in the history of the promotion. With a strong background in collegiate wrestling, Usman is gradually making his way to the top.
Demian Maia, on the other hand, has been knocked down a peg or two most recently. Having reached the summit, Maia lost by decision to champion Tyron Woodley, and then by decision against interim champion challenger Colby Covington. Regardless, Maia’s veteran status and notorious grappling ability hold him in high standing.
It seems that the top UFC bookmakers in Canada are favouring the upstart Nigerian over the 40-year-old Brazilian, with Usman at -454.55 and Maia at +300 to win the fight. Usman is a very skilled fighter with great grappling skill and should be able to deter the advances of Maia. There’s no doubt that Maia, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt will seek a victory via submission.
Tale of the Tape
At 6’0’’ with 76’’ reach, Usman matches up well against the 6’1’’, 72’’ reach of Maia. Usman gives a one-inch leg reach advantage to his next opponent.
Despite his wrestling history and grappling skill, Usman has proven to be a decent striker, with a 54% success rate, whereas Maia opts to go for takedowns and holds a 43% strike rate.
The headline fight of UFC Fight Night 129 is set to be a heated battle between two fighters at very different stages of their careers. But, on the night, people would be shocked if Maia walked away victorious.