Veteran Demian Maia had asked to meet Rory MacDonald next, and that wish has been granted, as the two welterweights will square off in an important affair at UFC 170 in Las Vegas. Both competitors have something in common heading into the Feb. 22 matchup — they both had potential title hopes derailed thanks to losses in their last fights. Maia saw a three-fight win streak end at Fight Night 29 in Brazil when he dropped a split decision verdict to Jake Shields. It was a bitter defeat after the Brazilian had rejuvenated his career with a move down in weight from the middleweight division.
MacDonald, 24, remains a hot prospect in the 170-pound weight class, but his last effort showed that “Ares” isn’t quite there just yet. MacDonald believes his split decision loss to Robbie Lawler at UFC 167 will make him a better fighter moving forward, and he will get the chance to test that theory against Maia.
The loss snapped a five-fight win streak and halted any more questions for the time being about whether the Tristar gym product would ever entertain the notion of facing his mentor and training partner, current welterweight champion Georges St.Pierre.
The matchup is an intriguing one, as the 36-year-old Maia knows he can’t afford another defeat, as back-to-back losses would see him drop substantially down the ladder in the stacked welterweight division. MacDonald will be looking to restore his reputation as being the next big thing at 170 pounds. Maia’s submission game will get a good test against MacDonald’s strong stand-up game and dangerous ground and pound.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports