Last night’s (Oct. 9, 2013) UFC Fight Night 29 event from Brazil featured a main event between two fighters looking to ascend in the welterweight division. In the headlining bout, Jake Shields was able to win a close split decision over hometown fighter Damian Maia, scoring a major significant win for a foreigner on Brazilian soil. The fact that Shields did it his way, which is boring, can’t overshadow the fact that Maia is a tough opponent who can stalemate just about anyone on the ground. For Damian Maia, he has hit his ceiling at welterweight, and it is well below the title level. Maia is a strong grappler who has worked on his striking a lot, and he is tall for the weight class, but he lacks strength and athleticism overall. He was able to win the position battle against Jon Fitch and showed impressive grappling in their bout, but against Shields, he was generally slower and failed to win the position battles. As for Shields, he won the position battle. Neither fighter was really conditioned to go five rounds, as both tired when the bout progressed. It is a bad sign for Shields that he can win the opening three rounds, yet do so little damage to his opponent that Maia has his most effective moments in rounds four and five. Shields, usually quiet and with a calm demeanor, was more in the limelight for this main event spot, and his talk was about submitting Maia or knocking him out. He talked of finishing the fight, but Shields did not get that job done, and he did little that is going to make people stand up and holler to see him again. In the co-main event, Dong Hyun Kim of South Korea announced his return to relevance in the welterweight division with a resounding second round knockout of Erick Silva. Silva is a talented fighter who has been considered a top prospect. However, he suffered a setback loss to Jon Fitch and now this loss drops him to 4-3 overall in UFC. SIlva is a long way away from sniffing at a title shot. As for Kim, he won in hostile territory, and he won big, with a knockout. He needed an impressive performance. His stock took a nose dive after the Maia loss, and he had two decision wins since that few were talking about, but this victory puts him on the map again. Perhaps what the UFC intends to do is Jake Shields vs Dong Hyun Kim for their next bouts. The match is intriguing in that it is a clash of styles. Maybe Kim can get a good performance out of Jake Shields, because despite the win last night, he still really needs one. Below are some highlights from the main and co-main events:
Jake Shields vs Demian Maia
Dong Hyun Kim vs Erick Silva
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