UFC Fight Night 29: Maia vs Shields will be taking place on October 9th in Barueri, Brazil at the Jose Correa Arena. I will be breaking down each fight on the main card of this event, as well as predicting the winners. Fellow Sports Unbiased writer, Daniel Clark has also joined in on the picks!
The UFC Fight Night 29 main card will air on FOX Sports 1 at 7pm Eastern Time/4pm Pacific Time in the U.S.
Main Event: #4 Demian Maia (18-4) vs Jake Shields (28-6-1):
These two men sure do have a lot in common. Both are former Middleweights, have challenged for UFC titles and are top grapplers in the sport.
The former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Shields was once considered one of the very best in MMA during his 15 fight win streak from 2005-2010.
Maia, on the other hand has only been at 170 pounds since last year and has amassed a 3-0 record in the division.
Many see the grappling being negated and this turning into who has the better striking; while that’s very possible, I don’t necessarily see that happening. I believe Maia will be able to out grapple Shields like he has done with so many outstanding grapplers in the past; including his most recent fight where he rag dolled former division one wrestler, Jon Fitch. While this fight has decision written all over it, don’t be surprised if this fight gets finished in one of the later rounds, especially if one of these men come in with bad cardio.
Favorite: Maia (-275) Underdog: Shields (+235)
Chris’ Pick: Maia
Dan’s Pick: Maia
This one is truly one of those fights that’s almost too close to call. The up and comer Silva will be going against the veteran in Kim who has been a staple in the UFC’s Welterweight division. This fight is very important for both men, with a win, either man could find themselves facing a top ten opponent in their next fight.
What this fight will come down to is who is able to execute their game plan first. Kim is known for his suffocating grappling and Silva is a great striker who also has dangerous submission skills. Kim has never been submitted, so that’s an unlikely outcome. However, in both of his losses, Kim was finished by TKO in round one and Silva definitely has the skill-set to do that. On the other side of the spectrum, if this fight goes to decision, it’s more than likely Kim will be the victor. Kim has never lost a fight by decision and 59 percent of his victories have come via decision.
It’s a tough call and I could be wrong, but I see Silva finishing this fight with his striking, proving he’s one of the world best at Welterweight.
Favorite: Silva (-260) Underdog: Kim (+220)
Chris’ Pick: Silva
Dan’s Pick: Silva
Thiago Silva has a rough time from 2010-2012, losing two fights and having two victories overturned due to failing drug tests. However, he made a statement in his last bout, knocking out former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion, Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante. Hamill is coming out of retirement to fight Silva and this may not have been a great move for him. A few years ago Hamill may have been able to use his wrestling to win this fight, but he hasn’t looked like the same fighter in quite some time. The deadly striking of Thiago Silva will prove to be too much for Hamill, expect an early finish from Silva.
Chris’ Pick: Silva
Dan’s Pick: Silva
Fabio Maldonado (19-6) vs Joey Beltran (14-8):
In my opinion, there’s only one reason this fight is on the main card and that’s because these guys love to stand and trade and aren’t afraid of taking a big shot, which should make for a very exciting fight. My one word of advice to Joey Beltran would be for him to take this fight to the mat and keep it there because that’s the only way I see him winning this fight. Maldonado is the more skilled striker and has an iron chin, only being stopped by KO/TKO once in his career and that was a doctor stoppage against title challenger Glover Teixeira. In reality, I see this being a stand-up war with Maldonado coming out on top.
Favorite: Maldonado (-150) Underdog: Beltran (+130)
Chris’ Pick: Maldonado
Dan’s Pick: Maldonado
Rousimar Palhares (14-5) vs Mike Pierce (17-5):
This will be Palhares very first venture at Welterweight after losing back-to-back fights at Middleweight. Palhares is only 5’8 and was huge at Middleweight, I can only imagine how big he’s going to look at Welterweight in comparison to his competition. On the other hand, Pierce is a long time Welterweight who’s losses seem to only come against the very best in the division. Pierce is the favorite in this fight and with good reason, however, I believe this drop to Welterweight is going to do amazing things for Palhares. Both men have fell short to the top men in their divisions and a win over the other could very well be the biggest win of their careers. I’m going to go out on a limb here and go with the underdog Palhares and I will predict he will be the first man to finish Pierce!
Favorite: Pierce (-290) Underdog: Palhares (+245)
Chris’ Pick: Palhares
Dan’s Pick: Pierce
#5 Raphael Assuncao (20-4) vs #9 T.J. Dillashaw (8-1):
This Bantamweight fight could be the most important fight of the entire card. Both men are top 10 Bantamweights and are riding four fight win streaks. Assuncao is the more technical striker, but Dillashaw has more power on the feet and can end this fight at any time. However, I don’t see much of this fight taking place on the feet, Dillashaw is a former division one wrestler and will use that to his advantage. Although Assuncao has a dangerous submission game, I don’t think that will pose much of a problem for Dillashaw. I see this one going the distance in favor of Dillashaw.
Favorite: Dillashaw (-230) Underdog: Assunca-o (+200)
Chris’ Pick: Dillashaw
Dan’s Pick: Dillashaw
Chris’ Prediction Record (This Year): 12-7
* Predictions began as of UFC Fight Night 28