Maia has been booked to fight Woodley at the July 29th event, thanks to a seven fight winning streak, which includes wins over contenders like Gunnar Nelson, Neil Magny, Matt Brown, Carlos Condit and Jorge Masvidal. During the run, Maia’s galaxy class jiu-jitsu game has been on full display, as the Brazilian star has largely dominated his opponents on the mat, and subbed the likes of Brown, Condit and Magny.
But, since Woodley is a former NCAA Division1 wrestler, many believe Maia will not be able to take the fight down. One of those folks is the ONE welterweight champ Askren, who is also a decorated wrestler. Case in point, recently he told BJ Penn Radio the following:
“The thing is, I don’t think it’s going to hit the floor,” said Askren, who trains with Woodley. “That’s the thing about it. You know, Demian Maia’s takedowns are… they’re basic. The one thing he does well is he really sticks with it. But you look at his recent run of success, and he hasn’t really had to fight any high-level wrestlers. And even Jorge Masvidal, – I don’t want to say [he has] no wrestling background, I’m not 100% sure – I don’t think he has any wrestling background, was able to stop some of the takedowns, you know? And so, when you look at Tyron Woodley who has a very strong wrestling background, I just don’t see a scenario in which Demian Maia is able to get Tyron on the ground.”
“…So even if Demian gets past the first and second-level defense, the movement and the sprawl… say he even gets to the leg and gets to a decent position, I still feel like even from there, or even from a body lock, he’s not going to get the takedown…”
On paper, it certainly looks like Maia’s going to have a hard time getting Woodley to the ground. No question. But, you never know what can happen…If Maia can initiate a scramble some how, he may be able to get to the champ’s back.
UFC 214 will be hosted by the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.