UFC Fight Night 29 card take place in Brazil this week. Headlining the card is a pivotal welterweight bout between Demian Maia and Jake Shields, two of the best grapplers in the UFC. Both are looking to get a win in hopes of moving to the top of the division, and it’s going to be a battle when the fight hits the mat. There are several fighters to look for on this card who could have a breakout performance.
Maia has the opportunity to seize a title shot if he can get an impressive win over Shields. Widely regarded as one of the best grapplers in MMA, Maia has been able to run through opponents at welterweight, a division that seems to suit him nicely. He doesn’t have to worry about having a disadvantage in terms of strength and size, which was not the case competing at middleweight.
If Maia can defeat Shields in a decisive way, it will be hard for the UFC not to give him a title shot. For this reason, Maia is certainly a fighter to watch on the UFC Fight Night 29 card.
Mike Pierce is the fighter that no one is talking about in the welterweight division, but they should be. Just like Maia, he is on a four-fight winning streak. A win over Rousimar Palhares would be a huge feather in his cap, and would solidify his status as being at least a top-six welterweight.
Pierce has an incredible ability to knock his opponents out with short shots, and he has exceptional wrestling that allows him to stay competitive with the best of them, such as against Josh Koscheck and Johnny Hendricks. If Pierce can get yet another win under his belt, he is knocking on the door of a title shot, where Georges St. Pierre is the current champ.
He may not get a lot of attention, but this may change for Pierce after Wednesday night.