UFC 131 Fight Card Breakdown: Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz

Middleweights Demian Maia and Mark Munoz will meet at UFC 131 on Saturday, June 11 in Vancouver's Rogers Arena. The bout has clear title implications. Maia, who fought UFC champ Anderson Silva at UFC 112, is currently the #4 ranked middleweight in the world according to the USA TODAY/SBNation MMA Consensus Rankings. Munoz ranks #19.

Both fighters are riding two fight win streaks, with Maia coming off wins over Kendall Grove and Mario Miranda and Munoz having beaten C.B. Dollaway and Aaron Simpson.

Maia is one of the world's most accomplished Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors, having won multiple world championships and ADCC titles. Unlike many of his peers however, Maia has been very successful in adapting his world-class submission game to MMA. This is partly because he has an extensive Judo background and has very cleverly integrated that sport's arsenal of trips and take downs into his attack. After being blasted by Nate Marquardt, Maia has emphasized his striking game by training with the legendary Wanderlei Silva.  

Munoz is a former NCAA division 1 national champion wrestler who has successfully combined his powerful double leg take downs with an awesomely powerful right hand to become one of the most dangerous ground and pound specialists in MMA today. Munoz has also steadily improved his straight boxing and scored a brutal KO on the feet against fellow wrestler Dollaway.

This fight is an extremely interesting match. Maia may be the more technically polished striker on the feet, but Munoz has much more punching power and a better chin. That means he'll likely be looking to sprawl and brawl to keep things standing and capitalize on his standing advantage. 

Maia has shown he can take down and submit elite wrestlers with a very sneaky arsenal of guard pulls, sweeps and Judo trips. If he can get Munoz on the ground a submission win is a very likely outcome. 

Ultimately I think this bout is so close that it will come down to will to win.

Aspect Maia Points Munoz Advantage
Range Fighting

Boxing Improving Powerful Munoz
Kickboxing Improving Eh Maia
Wrestling Surprising 2 Excellent Munoz
Clinch Fighting        
Dirty Boxing Not so much 1 Dangerous Munoz
Thai Clinch Ok 1 Good Munoz
Throws/Trips Surprising 1 Very Good Tie
 Ground Fighting

 Positional Control Utter 1 Very Good Maia
 Top Game Smothering 1 Vicious Maia
 Bottom Game Deadly 1 Nah Maia
 Submissions Unparalleled 1 Unseen Maia
Intangibles Lost Title Shot Already 1 On His Way Munoz
Overall Topped Out 7/5 Rising Munoz

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