Two UFC veterans looking to remain relevant in a tough welterweight division will square off in Tulsa, Oklahoma at Fight Night 49. Both Mike Pyle and Demian Maia will be looking to make it back-to-back victories when they collide on August 23.
Pyle turned in an impressive bounce-back effort at UFC 170 by stopping T.J. Waldburger in the third round. It was a dominant rebound performance for the 13-fight Octagon veteran after being knocked out in just 29 seconds by Matt Brown at Fight Night 26. Pyle owns notable victories over Rick Story and John Hathaway and has also faced top-10 contenders Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger. He’s posted a 9-4 UFC record.
“Quicksand” has 22 finishes by knockout or submission in his 26 career victories. The 38-year-old competitor has a solid all-around game and currently sits at No. 12 in the rankings. Pyle has recorded four wins in his last five fights and a successful effort against the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist could land him in the top-10.
Maia is also looking to stay prominent in the 170-pound weight class. The former middleweight title challenger ended a two-fight skid with a unanimous decision victory over Alexander Yakovlev at the TUF Brazil 3 Finale. It was a badly-needed win for Maia after sustaining losses to Jake Shields and MacDonald. The No. 8-ranked Maia is confident he can still be a major factor and still has designs on landing a future title shot. That goal will require the dangerous submission specialist to string together several victories.
The 36-year-old Maia had a failed middleweight title opportunity against Anderson Silva at UFC 112 and has faced top-flight competition during his 19-fight Octagon career. He holds notable victories over Jon Fitch, Dong Hyun Kim and Chael Sonnen and has also faced current middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Maia has nine submission victories in his 19 career wins and has earned a handful of post-fight bonuses during his UFC tenure.
This has the makings of being an entertaining, technical battle between two veterans who’ve experienced highs and lows during their lengthy careers. The winner will remain in line for future prime opportunities within the welterweight landscape, while the loser will likely be relegated to gatekeeper status.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports