Middleweight steps in for Bisping
It didn’t take long for the UFC to get Demian Maia a new fight.
Tuesday’s news that Mark Munoz was injured in training and out of his fight against Chael Sonnen at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis in Chicago next week meant Sonnen needed a new opponent for the co-main event. And the natural fit was Michael Bisping, who moved up from his fight with Maia. But that left Maia out in the cold – but only for a few hours.
Enter Chris Weidman. The New York-based middleweight has stepped up on less than two weeks notice and will face Maia on the main card of the UFC’s first official Fox-broadcast card under the seven-year network deal that began Jan. 1. UFC president Dana White announced the new fight Tuesday night. UFC on Fox 2 takes place Jan. 28 at the United Center in Chicago.
Weidman (7-0, 3-0 UFC), a product of Matt Serra and Ray Longo’s school on Long Island, took the UFC by storm in his first year with the promotion, going 3-0 with a dominant decision victory in his debut and a pair of submissions, including a Submission of the Night bonus against Jesse Bongfeldt at UFC 131.
His last time out, he submitted Tom Lawlor just 2:07 into the first round at UFC 139 in November. The former Ring of Combat middleweight champion will have just a week to prepare for the Brazilian submission specialist before leaving for Chicago. Likewise, Maia will have just a short time to go from preparing for a fighter who is primarily a striker in Bisping to an opponent whose background is in wrestling, and who also has jiu-jitsu skills.
Maia (15-3, 9-3 UFC) has won three of his last four fights since losing a middleweight title fight against Anderson Silva at UFC 112. In October, he fought Jorge Santiago to a lopsided decision victory at UFC 136, getting back in the win column after a loss at UFC 131 to Munoz.
Maia started his career 11-0, including five straight in the UFC. That 5-0 stretch included five submissions – and four Submission of the Night bonus awards. But when his fight with Weidman comes around, it will have been nearly three years since the last submission win for the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Maia’s last finish came at UFC 95 against Sonnen in February 2009.
UFC on Fox 2 will be the UFC’s first trip to Chicago, the nation’s third largest city and third largest media market, since UFC 90 in October 2008. The main card airs at 8 p.m. Eastern on Fox. The preliminary card will air live on Fuel TV.