UFC 153: October 13, 2012 HSBC Arena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil UFC Welterweight Contender Demian Maia (-125) Profile: Demian Maia (16-4) is a Jiu-Jitsu superstar who has won just about every BJJ competition known to mankind, but in the last year-and-a-half he has shown an expanded tool set on the feet. The 34-year-old Brazilian is taking his third degree black belt and making the move to welterweight for the first time at UFC 148, and this may give Maia an edge in size, where he was having trouble with the bigger middleweights. This weight cut could also affect his cardio if he cuts the weight the wrong way. Following an unimpressive unanimous decision loss to Chris Weidman, he bounced back with a knockout win against Dong Hyun Kim in his welterweight debut when his opponent suffered an injury and could not continue. UFC Welterweight Contender Rick Story (-105) Profile: Rick “The Horror” Story (14-5) was primed for a run to the top of the UFC welterweight division but suffered consecutive losses that derailed his road to a title shot. In June of 2011, Story replaced an injured Anthony Johnson to face Nate Marquardt. A win over Marquardt would have given him eight UFC wins in a row, beating the likes of Thiago Alves and Johny Hendricks. Then it all came crashing down, as Marquardt had elevated testosterone levels and was pulled from the fight, leaving Story had to fight replacement Charlie Brenneman, who would go on to defeat him via unanimous decision in a stunning upset. The UFC’s rising star then proceeded to lose his next fight four months later to Martin Kampmann. Luckily, the 28-year-old Story got back on track with a unanimous decision win over Brock Jardine at UFC on FX 4, allowing him to take a positive step on his climb back up the welterweight mountain once again. Opening UFC 153 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas has made Maia a small -125 favorite (bet $125 to win $100) against Story, who opened as a -105 underdog according to the MMA odds. Many wondered what Maia would look like as a welterweight after fighting as a middleweight for his entire career before UFC 148. While he disposed of Kim rather quickly, the injury that ended their bout prevented MMA bettors from getting an extended look since it was over in less than a minute. Story should present Maia with a much bigger challenge since he never been stopped, with all four of his career losses coming via unanimous decision. Story has seen each of his last five fights go the distance along with seven of his past eight, so he certainly has the ability to push Maia here. Maia’s previous four wins before beating Kim went the judges, but his last three losses also came via decision. There is a strong possibility that this bout could follow suit, giving the more active fighter a huge advantage and likely the victory.
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