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Demian Maia: Unstoppable

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This past weekend, if you happened to watch the UFC on FOX event, you would have witnessed the utter devastatingly effective Jiu Jitsu game of Demian Maia. Maia took out the highly ranked, top welterweight Carlos Condit. It didn’t even take Maia more than two minutes to takedown Condit, take his back and sink in his patented rear naked choke. But why is Demian’s BJJ so effective? How is it that he can fight in MMA only really using grappling? He certainly has high level Jiu Jitsu. Maia is an ADCC champ, Pan American champ and Brazilian champ, and in the UFC he is now on a six fight win streak. Let’s take a look at why Maia is able to use his Jiu Jitsu so well in the cage.

The first and most obvious reason his Jiu Jitsu works so well is because of how much wrestling he has adapted to his game. Unlike most BJJ fighters in MMA, Maia has fully embraced Wrestling into his Jiu Jitsu. His use of double leg, single leg and body lock takedowns are masterful. In his last six fights, he has been able to takedown every fighter that he has taken on. He doesn’t get super low to the ground, like most wrestlers, but his takedowns work all the same. This is how he first implements his Jiu Jitsu.

For a good resource on effective takedowns, check out Travis Stevens Judo Academy DVD. Great insight on real, workable takedowns.  (click link!)

After Maia gets the takedown, he next works his strong positional game. When his opponent finally hits the ground, Maia becomes like a magnet. Whether it is mount, side control or the back, chances are you won’t be getting back up. Maia does not jump into submissions willy nilly. He maintains his position on his opponent until he knows that he can indeed lock up a submission without much of a fight. Being on top, he simply wears down his opponent’s conditioning. He was able to play an exceptional positional game on fellow BJJ black belt, Gunnar Nelson.

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Once he glues himself to his opponent on the ground, he keeps it simple and finishes them with fundamental, high percentage submissions. You won’t see crazy, flashy submissions from Maia. But for his style in the cage, it works very well. In his last six fights, he has won three by rear naked choke. Neil Magny, Matt Brown and now Carlos Condit have all tapped from Maia’s rear choke. What he is lacking in submission diversity, he makes up with technical proficiency. No one wants Maia on their back. If he gets there, it’s all but lights out or a tapout.

With this last win over Carlos Condit, Maia has proven that he is at the top of the division. His Jiu Jitsu is looking unstoppable. Demian says that he will wait for the winner of Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson. Whoever wins the title better be ready, and better train hard. Because when they face Maia, and when he does get the fight to the ground…they will be in his world.


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