UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley defends his title against grappling maestro Demian Maia this Saturday (July 29) at UFC 214 in Anaheim. A fight of extremes, Woodley vs. Maia matches the striking and wrestling of a powerful champion against the grappling and submission skills of an underrated challenger. It’s a contest many believe will be close and competitive, one that will ultimately be decided by the fighter capable of dragging it into their preferred domain; Woodley wants it standing, Maia wants it on the ground.
Ahead of UFC 214 this weekend, we asked three Bellator standouts what happens when Woodley and Maia contest the UFC welterweight crown in California. Here’s what they said…
Heavy-handed Bellator welterweight contender from England
“I would have picked Maia but I thought his last performance against (Jorge) Masvidal wasn’t great, so I’m going to pick Tyron Woodley. I think it will be by decision.
“I don’t think either of them have the best gas tanks in MMA but I think Woodley’s big right hand and power-punching and his wrestling will get him the win. I just think he’s got a bit more to his game than Maia.
“I was well behind Maia for a while. He was looking really good in previous fights. But I wasn’t too impressed with his last one. I fought Masvidal and beat Masvidal – a poorer version of us both – and I thought Maia would have performed better against him. Masvidal, to his credit, did well.”
Well-rounded former Bellator light-heavyweight champion from England
“I think if Demian Maia can play his game and get close to him, he can win that fight. But Tyron Woodley is a very powerful man. If he lumps Demian, it might not end well for him. It all depends where the fight goes. If it ends up being a jiu-jitsu fight, Demian wins. But if Tyron gets him on the end of his punches and manages to land something big, he’ll win. I’m undecided.”
Bellator welterweight prospect and the son of Kimbo Slice
“I’m going with Tyron Woodley all day. I don’t think Demian Maia can take him down and control him the way he did with Masvidal and all those other guys. I think Tyron is too strong, too powerful and too explosive. He’ll keep the belt, for sure. Tyron can knock him out.”
Woodley 2-0 Maia (1 fence-sitter)