Since yesterday’s announcement that Vitor Belfort was pulling out of his scheduled title fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 112 there has been much speculation about who his replacement would be.
Now we know – it’s Demian Maia.
“It’s always tough when a top fighter like Vitor Belfort has to pull out of a big title fight, but we have found a high quality replacement,” said UFC President Dana White on the promotions website. “Top contender Chael Sonnen was not available due to injuries sustained in his fight with Nate Marquardt, so top six middleweight Demian Maia will step in to fight for the title.”
Maia emerged victorious at UFC 109 with a decision win over Dan Miller in which he chose to display his developing stand-up skills. On April 10th in Abu Dhabi however it would be wise for him to return to his roots as one of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters ever to compete in MMA.
Those skills helped him to obtain a 11-0 record in the sport prior to his fight with Nate Marquardt in August of last year. At that stage it was believed a win would earn him a title shot, but his decision to stand and trade early in that fight ended with him being knocked out.
With just one victory under his belt since then, unforeseen circumstances have now dictated that Maia will get his title shot after all, and if he can take this fight to the mat then he certainly has a chance to be the first fighter to beat Silva in the UFC.
Of course Silva, who is undefeated in 11 fights will have other ideas, and his vastly superior stand-up skills could once again prove to be the deciding factor in this bout.