Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look ahead to the main event at UFC on Fox 21 as American Carlos Condit takes on Brazilian Demian Maia in a battle of top 5 welterweights. Carlos Condit (Record: 30-9, -115 Favorite, Fighter Grade: A) The long-time WEC and UFC welterweight fights for the first time since losing a controversial split decision to Robbie Lawler. Outside of a decision loss to Martin Kampmann in 2009, his only losses in the UFC have come against current or former welterweight champions. “The Natural Born Killer” is one of the most exciting fighters in MMA today. His approach is action packed. While statistically he only lands 3.80 significant strikes a minute, he has a volume heavy approach. Where he excels is in prolonged fights. He’s one of the best fighters in the sport comparing his ability in five round contests with three round bouts. Condit is in excellent condition and is one of the few fighters capable of putting forth an excellent pace for five rounds. For example, he landed an incredible 62 significant strikes in the fifth round in his bout with Robbie Lawler. Beating Condit in the championship round of fights is a rarity. Furthermore, Condit is extremely difficult to finish. Outside of the knee injury that forced him to stop fighting against Tyron Woodley, he hasn’t been finished by an opponent since 2006. The one area which troubles Condit is wrestling. His takedown defense is only 39%; one of the lowest in the division. While he has a rather aggressive guard game, it’s area where an opponent can slow Condit down and keep his offensive tools at bay. Demian Maia (Record: 23-6, -105 Underdog, Fighter Grade: B+) The Brazilian jiu jitsu ace is on one the best runs of his MMA career. He has won five fights in a row beating the likes of Matt Brown, Neil Magny, and Gunnar Nelson in dominant fashion. He hasn’t lost since being on the wrong side of a decision against Rory Macdonald in February 2014. A fourth degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Demian Maia is in the Mt. Rushmore of MMA jiu-jitsu practitioners. While Maia’s striking has gotten better, he simply isn’t able to compete on the feet against top welterweights. In order to succeed he needs to secure takedowns. He has done a lot of work in the gym working on angles to secure takedowns landing nearly a takedown per round in the cage. He times his shots well and does an excellent job once he has position to finalize the takedown. His control on the ground is excellent using his body well to keep his opponent grounded so he can look for advances in position and to work submissions and ground and pound. Maia also does well to find an opponent’s back where they have to use a lot of energy to avoid being submitted. Maia does an excellent job early in fights to build out a big advantage. As the fight wears on, his cardio really comes into question. In the few times he’s fought five rounds; he’s slowed down tremendously and struggled to get to the final bell. Match-up An important fight in the UFC’s welterweight division headlines the UFC on Fox 21 card. This is a closely lined fight with Carlos Condit a slight favorite (-115) at time of publication. The reason the betting line is so close is because both fighters have a real path to victory. Expect Demian Maia to start out fast in this bout finding an early takedown and controlling Carlos Condit on the ground. This bout likely comes down to whether Maia can find a submission in the first two rounds of this bout. Condit will force Maia to use a lot of energy early in this bout as he looks to find a submission. Maia’s one of the best in the sport at working for submissions, but can he be the first to submit Condit since 2006? That’s the key question and difficult to decide. On the flip side, Maia will get tired if he’s unable to find the submission and Condit will take over late in this bout. If this fight goes to the championship rounds, I expect Condit to be able to keep the fight standing and land with volume over a tired Maia. Once he starts to do that, a finish will come shortly thereafter. If one is going to bet this fight, Maia by submission (+315) is a good angle to consider as is Condit by TKO (+220). Either way, difficult to see this fight going to decision, so if one isn’t interested in playing both sides the fight doesn’t go to decision (-150) is a very likely winner. It’s a difficult fight to call straight up, but if one is looking for a money line side, wait for live betting to put a bet on Carlos Condit if the fight gets to the third round.
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