Bloody Elbow presents its fight primer coverage for UFC 214 on Saturday, July 29th in Anaheim, California. Here, we take a look at the welterweight title fight between champion Tyron Woodley and challenger Demian Maia.
The co-main event of UFC 214 is a welterweight championship bout between reigning champion Tyron Woodley (17-3-1 MMA, 6-2-1 UFC) and challenger Demian Maia (25-6 MMA, 19-6 UFC). UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2 airs live from Anaheim, California this Saturday night, July 29th. The main card airs on PPV at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT, with the preliminary card on FXX at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, plus Fight Pass prelims at 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT.
Woodley is making the third defense of his title, and this time it’s not against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. While Thompson is known as a striker, Maia is a wholly different type of fighter. He’s a decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner who hasn’t lost in three years, and has beaten the best at welterweight has to offer. This is Demian’s chance at finally becoming a champion, ten years after making his UFC debut.
How do these two stack up?
Woodley: 35 years old | 5’8″ | 74″ reach
Maia: 39 years old | 6’0″ | 72″ reach
What have these two done recently?
Woodley: W – Stephen Thompson (MD) | D – Stephen Thompson | W – Robbie Lawler (KO)
Maia: W – Jorge Masvidal (SD) | W – Carlos Condit (SUB) | W – Matt Brown (SUB)
How did these two get here?
Woodley’s path to the title was certainly unconventional. After wins over Dong Hyun Kim and Kelvin Gastelum, he was supposed to face Johny Hendricks at UFC 192, but the fight was canceled due to Hendricks’ weight-cutting issues. Woodley was granted a title shot, waited on the sidelines, and when the time came to face Robbie Lawler at UFC 201, he brutally knocked out Lawler in round 1 to become the new king of 170. His first title defense was at UFC 205 against Stephen Thompson, and while he failed to win on the night (although he came close with a 4th round knockdown), a draw was good enough for him to retain the belt. The rematch at UFC 209 this past March was decidedly lackluster, but a 5th round knockdown essentially won him the bout. Woodley will be looking for a much more decisive victory tonight in Anaheim.
Maia has more than paid his dues in this sport. The former middleweight contender started out 3-0 at welterweight, dropped a pair of decisions to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald, and has since won astonishing seven consecutive contests. His most recent outing was a split decision over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 in May. While that win may not have been particularly impressive, his three-run stretch against Gunnar Nelson, Matt Brown, and Carlos Condit was terrific. He submitted both Brown and Condit, and ran through Nelson on the ground, outgrappling him and pummeling his face with ground-and-pound for a lopsided decision victory. Now comes Maia’s second chance at UFC gold, and his first at welterweight. A win would definitely shoot him up the ranks as one of the sport’s greats.
Why should you care?
It’s an intriguing stylistic clash. Maia is hard to KO and Woodley is hard to takedown, plus he’s never been submitted. There’s also the strong possibility that the winner of this one gets Georges St-Pierre next.