DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) - Cutting weight is any fighter’s least favorite part of their job. Interviewing a fighter in the middle of one can be equally difficult if the fighter is in a particularly depleted state.
Despite his discomfort, UFC welterweight contender Jake Shields is always in an affable mood, and I found him to be his typically friendly self despite being in the midst of shedding the pounds necessary to make his 170 pound weight limit for Wednesday night’s main event.
The former title challenger will take on Brazilian jiu jitsu specialist Demian Maia in a five round main event attraction that will air live as part of UFC Fight Night 29 on FOX Sports 1.
Both riding three fight win streaks (Shields‘ last win was technically changed to a no contest after a failed post fight drug test), UFC president Dana White has gone on record as saying that the winner will be in a “good position” within the welterweight decision, indicating that title shot considerations may not be far off in the victor’s future.
Maia is a former middleweight title challenger that has reinvigorated himself since dropping to welterweight for his past three fights. Despite being a favorite with odds makers, three of his four losses have come via decision, while Jake Shields has a grinding style that could give him problems in the later rounds.
Additionally, the vast majority of Shields’ wins over the past four years have gone the distance (he has the third longest average fight time in the division behind Georges St. Pierre and Carlos Condit), with his only UFC losses coming from welterweight champion St. Pierre and a one punch KO from Jake Ellenberger. Despite Maia being a submission specialist, if he is successful in submitting Shields he will be the first ever to do so.
What Shields will likely not be able to neutralize is the home field advantage that Maia will enjoy. Fighting in his home country of Brazil, Maia will look to feed off of the rowdy crowds that have historically made Brazilians so successful fighting in front of their countrymen.
On paper, this is a very compelling match up.
UFC Fight Night 29 airs on FOX Sports 1 at 6pm central on Wednesday.
Follow Richard Hunter on Twitter @RichardHunter
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