Two of the UFC’s pound for pound grapplers will square off when Demian Maia makes his welterweight debut against the Korean, Dong Hyun Kim. And in middleweight clash, Hollywood’s finest, Cung Le, returns to action against one of the hardest punchers in the division.
vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Demian Maia will be getting a clean slate in a new
division when he makes his welterweight debut against Dong Yun Kim on the main
card at UFC 148.
The early flow of UFC betting action on the -135 opener witnessed
a brief climb to -155 before a slight buy back on Maia, dropping the UFC odds down
to a more universal offering of -140.
Looking back at Kim’s last two fights, being knocked
out by a flying knee from Carlos Condit may have actually been beneficial to
his overall development. It’s allowed him to go back and refine a lot of
subtleties in both his defense and offensive striking, which were on display in
his latest bout with Sean Pierson
Kim was able to showcase improved timing and distance
as he methodically maintained his preferred range with his jab and jolting
straight left from the outside. Throughout the fight Pierson was left swinging
at air as his punches came up just short in most of the exchanges.
One clear edge he has over Maia to take note of is the
activity and length behind his rangier, more active kicking game, which could
easily be the difference in a close swing round. He stays particularly busy
with his outside leg kicks, and in the Pierson fight, he was throwing and
landing his jumping frontkick with surprising frequency.
As southpaws, both men throw their share of straight
lefts. It should be an interesting battle of who’s able to land with it more
frequently. For Kim, it’s a slight advantage that his last opponent was also a
southpaw who was forcing him to occasionally evade and counter that very punch.
While Kim is able to cover more distance with his
left, I give a slight overall edge to Mai’s more refined composure in his
delivery. Kim tends to leave himself off balance at times by lunging and over
committing to the punch, leaving himself further exposed to quick counters on
Maia’s problem is he’s overly predictable and
simplistic in his approach. By not varying his attack enough in his last fight
against Weidman, Chris was for the most part easily able to deflect and evade
most of Demian’s left hands throughout the fight.
And finally, we have to address the well publicized
cardio issue these two have become renowned for.
With Maia, I feel it’s been a bit more of a
reoccurring issue. In his most recent fight he appeared equally as gassed as an
opponent who had to cut a massive amount of weight on just a weeks notice.
That’s probably not a good sign considering he’s now making his debut in a new
division that’s going to require a weight cut he’s completely unfamiliar with.
At least with Kim, he was able to showcase clear
improvement in his cardio against Pierson. Heading into the third round he
still looked fresh as he was bouncing on his feet and still delivering strikes
with comparable force to his early output in the first two rounds
For me, I’m seeing a lot of small edges for Kim that
should eventually add up to him taking a somewhat close decision here. Depending on how successful a weight cut Maia
ends up having, it’s quite possible he takes in a late surge of action. For
now, though, Kim at anything below -150 is my UFC pick.
I like Dong
Hyun Kim -137 @ sportbet.com
Cung Le vs.
Filling in to take on Cung Le as a replacement for
Rich Fraklin, who was recently promoted to the headliner against Wandy at UFC
147, will be log time UFC veteran Patrick Cote.
It’s not secret that Cung’s abilities are rapidly
declining at this stage in his career. He may still have the speed and
crispness to hang with most UFC middleweights, but his overall endurance and
ability to take a shot have certainly suffered.
We saw just that in his last fight against Wandy,
where he was able to frequently connect in the first round before succumbing to
early fatigue, allowing Wandy to eventually close the distance with his brutal
Patrick Cote, meanwhile, is a fighter who’s always
renowned for his durability and heavy right hand, similar to another opponent,
Scott Smith, who knocked Le out during his tenure with Strikforce.
Since being released after dropping a decision to Tom
Lawlor, Cote’s strung together an impressive 4 fight win streak. It difficult
to pinpoint any particular improvement he’s made in that time, but to me, he
did look a tad quicker and lighter on his feet in his latest bout against
This is tricky fight to bet for a number of reasons,
and one I’ll likely end up avoiding altogether. Personally, I’m hoping for a
decent dog price on Cote, which is the only way I’d pull the trigger here.
on Cote— future update once the line is released.