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UFC 95 Sanchez vs. Stevenson

MMA Fighting Matchups

Demian Maia (-275) vs. Chael Sonnen (+215)

by Stan Leung
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UFC 95 Sanchez vs. Stevenson
February 21th, 2009 12 PM
Demian Maia vs. Chael Sonnen
UFC Betting Pick: Chael Sonnen +215

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UFC Middleweight Fight: Demian Maia (-275) vs. Chael Sonnen (+215)

What are the chances of Chael Sonnen (29-9-1) beating Demian Maia (9-0)? I think he can beat him and he has more than a 50% chance. Chael Sonnen is an underrated fighter that has a very good all round skill set. UFC betting wise most online sportsbooks have him at +215 which gives online sports bettors a very good value bet to make.

Don’t get me worry Demian Maia should definitely be the online betting favorite in this fight but given the odds you have to lay some money for him to win. If this were a mixed martial arts fantasy league I would be all over Maia but the money line is worth a small play on this fight. This is sports betting, and as UFC handicapper I really like this value bet.

I think Maia is one of the best grapplers in the game today. I even have his DVD video the Science of Jiujutsu (which I highly recommend to any would be grappler). He is heads and tails above Chael Sonnen in terms of grappling. However, Sonnen holds notable victories over Jason Miller, Amar Suloev, Trevor Prangley, Timothy Credeur, Jason Lambert, and Paulo Filho who are some very good grapplers. Yes he is susceptible to submission but he has a very good wrestling base and his back ground leads him to be able to fend off Maia with his superior strength and power.

Yes Maia is undefeated but has he fought real tough competition. He has 7 MMA fights and won 6 of them by submission. He has wins over some decent fighters like Jason MacDonald at UFC 87: Seek and Destroy, Ed Herman at UFC 83: Serra vs. Pierre 2, and Ryan Jensen at UFC 77: Hostile Territory but he has fought some below average fighters like Quarry, and at UFC 95 Sonnen will be his biggest test to date.

Striking wise Chael Sonnen is a very good striker and he will be able to keep his distance by backing up Maia who is not a very good striker at all. Up against the cage is where Sonnen fights the best. He will be able to use his size and power to hold Maia on the cage and land punches. Chael Sonnen has superior wrestling power but he will not use his wrestling for takedowns, He will instead use his power to keep the fight standing.

In my opinion Maia is still an unproven fighter. He is not a big middleweight and his body frame suits more for the welterweight division. He will be fighting a very strong fighter that has fought a number of high caliber Brazilian Jiujutsu black belts in the past. Maia's standup is not very good. He fights straight up and he pushes his punches rather then snapping them. Maia only uses his punches to set up the takedowns. What Maia does in standup is he tries to rush you to set up takedowns.

If Sonnen can with stand the initial rush and not get taken down at the start of the fight he will start to control the stand up game. He will be able to do this because Sonnen is a very good striker and he also has a lot of mixed martial arts experience. He is also a very smart fighter and will take this fight to a decision.

Bottom Line: I see Sonnen being able to stuff Maia’s shot attempts and being able to land punches on Maia. Sonnen is a fighter that can test Maia and he can pressure him to making him make a mistake in the standup. We have yet to see Maia’s chin tested and Sonnen is a person that can KO the smaller less powerful fighter. Maia is not a strong or big fighter, he relies mostly on technique.

If Sonnen can take him off his game plan I can see an upset. He is no joke as he is the current WEC middleweight champion. To me, at +215 it is worth the risk to bet on the underdog in this fight. I love Maia as a fighter but to me he is still unproven and I see a big upset.

Look for Sonnen to Either KO Maia Early in the First Round or Win by Decision

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