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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

Uncaged: Midweek mayhem hits Brazil

Brian Kirk looks ahead to Wednesday night’s action at UFC Fight Night 29 in Barueri, Brazil.

Demian Maia: will he be celebrating again on Wednesday night?
Demian Maia: will he be celebrating again on Wednesday night?
Image: David Becker/AP/Press Association Images

SOME PEOPLE COMPLAIN about there being too many UFC events these days but you certainly miss it when a few weeks pass without a show to watch.

Luckily UFC Fight Night 29 in Barueri, Brazil provides a midweek treat and the prospect of some exciting fights to satisfy all the fans around the world.

Demian Maia will look to extend his 3-0 record since moving to welterweight as he faces Jake Shields while Erick Silva will provide the fireworks in his welterweight bout against Dong Hyun Kim.

Meanwhile, Thiago Silva is aiming to show an ageing Matt Hamill that coming out of retirement might not have been the best idea while the Fabio Maldonado and Joey Beltran bout has all the makings of an absolute slugfest.

The main card is filled with Rousimar Palhares versus Mike Pierce and Raphael Assuncao versus TJ Dillashaw.

Jake to go out on his Shield?

Demian Maia has fought some of the biggest names in the UFC middleweight division but when he was beaten by current champion Chris Weidman, he decided a change was needed. His subsequent drop to welterweight is proving to be very fruitful.

His win over Dong Hyun Kim isn’t to be really noted due to the freak injury Kim received but Maia has gone on to prove can be a force in this division with wins over Rick Story and Jon Fitch under his belt.

Jake Shields on the other hand has never looked like the same fighter he was in Strikeforce since losing a decision to GSP back at UFC 129. He has been plagued with ineffective offensive showings as well as failed drug tests.

Shields’ durability has never been in question but his reluctance to engage first and his overreliance on his defence will prove to be his downfall here. A rejuvenated Maia will fight smart like he always does to eke out a decision victory.

YouTube credit: extvMMA

Kim wants to stun Silva

Erick Silva was touted as one of the best prospects to come out of Brazil for a while but life in the UFC has proven to be tougher than expected for him. Silva lost to Jon Fitch in a fight he was fully expected to win before picking up his second submission of the night bonus cheque with a slick reverse triangle armbar against Jason High last time out.

YouTube credit: jahziel escalona

Dong Hyun Kim hasn’t done a lot wrong in his UFC career with his only legitimate defeat coming at the hands of perennial contender Carlos Condit at UFC 132. The only reason why he is not more highly thought of is his style isn’t that exciting as seven of his eight UFC wins have all come via judges’ decision.

Kim won’t change tact for this fight so he will look to lock things up from the outset but Silva still has something to prove to the UFC and he is far too quick on the feet and slick on the ground for Kim. Expect Silva to give the Brazilian fans something to cheer about on Wednesday night.

Best of the rest

While Matt Hamill is one of the sport’s most inspirational characters, his ability to compete at the top level is somewhat in doubt. The profoundly deaf MMA star came out of retirement in September 2012 to record a win over Roger Hollett but has not fought since.

In Thiago Silva he faces a berserker who will look to finish the fight as soon as possible and it might not make it out of the first round if he catches Hamill. The longer the fight goes on though the better chance Hamill has as Silva has been known to gas early.

The Joey Beltran and Fabio Maldonado fight will be a toe-to-toe slugfest in which someone will be getting their lights turned off while Rousimar Palhares faces a tough task to snap his two-fight losing streak as he faces the excellent wrestler Mike Pierce in a bout that is too close to call.

TJ Dillashaw’s stand-up game has improved greatly in his last few fights but he will have his work cut out against the submission specialist Raphael Assuncao. Both men are on the crest of a wave and have only one UFC loss on their records but Dillashaw could provide an upset in front the Brazilian fans.

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About the author:

Brian Kirk

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