The Great Debate: Demain Maia vs Jorge Masvidal

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UFC 211 is so stacked that we decided to do something big for the Great Debate series. We have decided to do a Great Debate for all five of the main card fights. We also wanted to invite other members of the media to be part of the fun. So we will have five staff members of The MMA Takeover go head to head against five members of the MMA media world. Each day we will debate a different fight.

We have already debated Sergio Pettis vs Henry Cejudo and Frankie Edgar vs Yair Rodriguez. Now we shift our focus to the welterweight showdown between Demain Maia and Jorge Masvidal. The MMA Takeover staff writer Alex Smith will be debating against LoudMouth Podcast network founder Kyle Steele. Alex will be arguing for Maia, while Kyle has Masvidal.

Why Demain Main Wins by Alex Smith:

 This is a classic grappler versus striker contest, on paper.  Damien Maia is a world class Brazilan Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner who has been competing in mixed martial arts for the past 16 years.  While Masvidal is a technical and ferocious fighter that is notoriously difficult to finish.  Hell, the last three losses on his record could have easily been wins.  Couple that with his absolute dismantling of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and he is all of a sudden giving the top five in the division difficulty sleeping at night.  This seems to mean nothing to Maia.
    Always calm and measured in his delivery, he seems unconcerned.  He has been here before.  He’s been told he has no chance and will get murdered on the feet.  He’s been told he’s too old.  He’s been told his style is boring and not particularly effective.  And those criticisms appeared correct after losses to Anderson Silva, Mark Muñoz, and Chris Wiedman.  Then something happened.  He stopped trying to be a kickboxer and dance with the girl that brought him: BJJ.
    He adapted his game and began dominating opponents.  He’s currently on a six-fight win streak in which he has completely outclassed everyone he’s faced.  Every fight, we were led to believe he was the sacrificial lamb for an up and coming fighter or a serious contender.  Every fight he forced his game and did his best impression of a lead backpack, sucking the energy from his foes with a never ending series of submission attacks.  Not since Fedor has the sport seen a fighter who seems borderline catatonic in the midst of the chaos that is MMA.  His calm demeanor displays his level of confidence and allows him to implement his game without panic.
    I believe Maia will stay close to Masvidal, taking away his ranged attacks, put him against the cage and ultimately take his back.  Once there, he’ll lock on a body triangle and threaten Masvidal with attacks until he has no energy left and is mercifully put out with a rear naked choke. Maia by RNC round 1

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Why Jorge Masvidal Wins by Kyle Steele:

I should start by saying that taking Jorge Masvidal here isn’t my most confident of picks. However, I do think he gets the win.

Here’s why: it doesn’t take much analysis to figure out Damian Maia’s game plan for this fight. I know it, you know it, my wife probably knows it, and, most importantly, Masvidal knows it.  His team knows it–the entire gym too. When a person is able to so specifically game plan for an opponent I feel as though they get an advantage. However, it takes a while for someone to come along and give everyone that winning blueprint. In my opinion, this is what you saw with Ronda Rousey. The difference between Rousey and Maia (besides Maia being more well-rounded) is that we’ve already seen the blueprint. He’s been beaten. Simply, you need to survive the takedowns and force Maia to throw punches. That’s basically it. Survive and dictate where the fight takes place. Most importantly, keep him off your back. I repeat…KEEP HIM OFF YOUR BACK.

This isn’t an easy task. Damian Maia is a 4th Degree Black Belt under Fabio Gurgel and is widely considered to be one of the greatest (if not the greatest) grapplers in our sport. He’s also riding a six-fight win streak with wins over Gunnar Nelson and Carlos Condit. Strength of Schedule wise, Maia gets the edge. But it’s worth noting that Masvidal, I believe, is a decent step up in competition and ring IQ.

The margin of error for Masvidal is very small. If Maia gets his back, I think it’s game over. However, if Masvidal can keep the fight on the feet for as long as possible, and keep Maia in his guard when the fight does hit the mat, I truly believe that Masvidal will out point Damian Maia. Many of Masvidal’s loses are by very close margins, his defensive striking sometimes turns judges off. That won’t be a problem here, as Maia is not known for his flash.

I expect Jorge to get taken down. I expect him to lose the first round. I expect Maia to gas out. I expect Masvidal to outstrike Maia by quite a bit. Go watch the Maia vs MacDonald fight, that’s pretty close to what I’m picturing here.

Give me Jorge Masvidal by Decision.


We would like to thank Kyle for participating in the Great Debate Series. Make sure you check out the entire LoudMouth network on ITunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, PlayerFM, SoundCloud, and more. Also, follow him on Twitter at @ LoudMouthMMA and like his Facebook page,

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