Demian Maia Drops to Welterweight, Meets Dong-Hyun Kim at UFC 148

Dong-Hyun Kim (James Law/HeavyMMA)

Fighters booked for July 7 bout in Las Vegas

The UFC is throwing Demian Maia from the middleweight frying pan right into the welterweight fire.

The longtime middleweight, who once challenged for Anderson Silva’s title at 185 pounds, will drop to 170 and fight Dong-Hyun Kim in his first bout at welterweight. UFC officials announced the fight booking Wednesday for UFC 148 this summer, saying verbal agreements are in place for the bout.

The UFC 148 pay-per-view will take place July 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and will be preceded by a UFC Fan Expo, which will take place at Mandalay Bay.

Maia (15-4, 9-4 UFC) will be looking to rebound from a January unanimous decision loss to Chris Weidman at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis in Chicago. Weidman took that fight on short notice, replacing Michael Bisping, Maia’s original opponent. Bisping moved up the card to fight Chael Sonnen, who had his original opponent, Mark Munoz, fall off with an injury.

That loss gave Maia two decision setbacks in his last three fights. At UFC 131 last June, he dropped a unanimous decision to Munoz. In between, he picked up a dominant decision win over Jorge Santiago at UFC 136. After starting his UFC career 5-0 with five submissions – and four Submission of the  Night bonus awards – Maia has gone just 4-4 with all his wins by decision.

Kim (15-1-1, 1 NC, 6-1, 1 NC UFC) got back in the win column his last time out after suffering the first loss of his pro career, a first-round knockout loss to Carlos Condit at UFC 132 last July. He beat Sean Pierson by unanimous decision at UFC 141 in December. Kim’s decision wins in the UFC include victories over current lightweight contender Nate Diaz, TUF 7 winner Amir Sadollah and TJ Grant.

UFC 148 is expected to feature a bantamweight title fight between champion Dominick Cruz and challenger Urijah Faber upon the completion of their coaching stints on the current season of “The Ultimate Fighter LIVE” on FX. Earlier this week, the UFC also announced a middleweight fight between Bisping and Tim Boetsch for the card, as well as a fight between former UFC champion Rich Franklin and former Strikeforce champ Cung Le.