'Condit vs. Maia' Preview feat. Stephen Thompson - UFC on Fox 21

UFC on Fox 21 will be taking place this Saturday afternoon, at the Rogers Arena (residence of the Canucks) in Vancouver, Canada. To be completely honest, I'm pretty pumped up. There are a handful of matches I'm genuinely anticipating. Joe Lauzon is set to rematch Jim Miller in the sequel to one of the bloodiest brawls in recent memory. 'Dancing with the Stars' finalist Paige VanZant is finally returning home to the octagon. Former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is making his debut at 145 in a must-win situation, as he faces off against Brazilian prospect Charles Oliveira. Having said that, the most enticing bout is undoubtedly the main event: Carlos Condit and Demian Maia are so to go at it for five rounds. Today, I'll be doing a quick preview of the fight. Luckily, I won't be alone. Stephen, Wonderboy, Thompson was kind enough to provide a couple of quotes. Without further ado, let's get to it:

Carlos Condit's future seemed extremely gloomy as he headed back to the locker rooms following a razor-sharp decision loss to Robbie Lawler at UFC 195. Once again, he was fingertips away from accomplishing his dream by becoming a UFC champion. Close, but no cigar. After stating that his career was over unless he received a title shot, the MMA fan base started to wonder if we had witnessed 'The Natural Born Killer' go to war for the last time. However, the idea of battling Demian Maia was too alluring for him to refuse. When asked about the matchup, Stephen Thompson says, "I'm really looking forward to this fight! Both of these guys [Maia/Condit] are absolute monsters, and true martial artists".

Now, Condit is taking a major chance by accepting this bout. A victory will instantly put him back in title contention territory, but a defeat could ruin his immediate plans. Risk it for the biscuit, I guess. On paper, this fight heavily favors Demian, stylistically speaking. You've often heard of the 'striker vs. grappler' bouts. But in this case, the contest would be best described as an 'elite striker vs. best current grappler in MMA'.

Indeed, there's something incredibly special about Maia. Nobody in the UFC can chain-wrestle like him. He's very sticky and his technique is flawless. This 38-year-old can effortlessly dismantle people on the mat, removing their will to continue. He has easily dominated some of the best in the division, such as Gunnar Nelson, Matt Brown, and Neil Magny. He's sitting on a 5-fight winning streak, and defeating Condit will put him alongside Wonderboy as the next unofficial welterweight challenger. In a few words, he's on the cusp of greatness. That's why you should make no mistake about it: Demian will unquestionably attempt to play it 'safe'. He will not enter into a kickboxing competition with a striker as vicious as Condit, which is the right decision.

While many people are focusing on weather or not Maia will be able to take 'The Natural Born Killer' down, I think those folks are asking the wrong question. Of course he will. To be fair, this sport is crazy;I can see a scenario in which Carlos lands a bomb that puts him out early. But assuming that doesn't transpire, the fight will surely go to the ground. Condit's takedown defense isn't superb. He's best when scrambling, and I don't think that's going to go well against the 4th degree BJJ black belt. In my opinion, we should be wondering: how will Condit deal with the situation once things hit the mat?

Frankly, I'm not sure what the answer is. The Albuquerque Bandit has proved to possess a very active guard. He's constantly striking, going for submissions. Even if the key to getting his hand raised lays on his stand-up, his tactical approach towards Maia's ground game will play a crucial role. He will have to slice him with elbows from the bottom and mostly play defense. Panicking and immediately trying to get up will potentially place him in a dangerous position.

If he was able to survive the initial couple of rounds, I can definitely see a path to victory. Rory MacDonald was able to put a beating on Demian by displaying supreme defensive grappling and a masterful utilization of the jab. We know Condit has an insane gas tank that will keep him fresh during the entire fight. When standing, he must continually pump the jab and catch him as he's coming in. If Maia slows down in the later rounds, Carlos could very much pick him apart.

In my head, there are three possible outcomes to this clash: Maia by submission if the first 15 minutes. Condit via TKO in the last two rounds. Or, a 48-47 decision for either guy. Wonderboy decided not to make a prediction, but when asked about a possible contest with Carlos or Demain, he confidently states "I'm sure I'll be seeing them in the Octagon in the future".

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