This fight is the turning point in the careers of these two guys. While Maia searches for a second chance and wants to reassure the public that despite his age, he can still be among the elite UFC fighters, Askren is trying to prove that he is a serious fighter. The KO against Masvidal, along with several other Funky’s performances, seriously questioned his abilities. The main event of the UFC Fight Night in Singapore carries more than the majority think. After this fight, one of these two fellas is going to be erased from the UFC.
Maia (27-9) comes in this match following two wins this year against Lyman Good and Anthony Martin, and that is what gave him this opportunity to fight against Askren. The 42-year old is a veteran of MMA, and in his resume, he has, for example, a win over Jorge Masvidal, with whom he earned a chance to fight for the UFC welterweight title. He would later lose to Tyron Woodley, who took the belt, and also suffer two more defeats vs Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman. The Brazilian is one of the best grapplers in his division, and throughout the years, he learned a lot when it comes to stand-up fighting, but still, his focus is on the ground fight. Without a doubt, he is the more experienced guy here, but also, the older one also.
Askren (18-1) needs to prove that he is more than a trash talker. He needs to reassure the world that he is equally good in the octagon as when he calls out other fighters. We witnessed how he ended against Masvidal. Jorge knocked him out in five seconds, setting the fastest KO ever recorded in the UFC. Now, after all that talking before the event, it came as a huge humiliation for the Funky. Askren is a great wrestler, one of the best in the UFC, maybe, but he pretty much knows only that. When it comes to striking, he is below the average, and he has to improve that, otherwise, there is no future for him in this organization. The majority of those fights and wins Askren had been against the fighters who are not elite ones, or not even near them. Except for a win over Robbie Lawler ( a very controversial one ), he didn’t have a name which might be respectable in his CV.
The two fighters never met.
Askren will have an advantage on the ground but will be very inferior in stand-up, although Maia himself isn’t very good in that aspect of the fight. Expect a long battle, which will probably end with a decision. Askren will try to wear down his rival, who does have some occasional drops when it comes to endurance and stamina. But that will be very risky, because although the American knows how to wrestle, Maia knows it too. And if by any chance he doesn’t succeed in luring the Brazilian into that sort of fight, Askren could be in big trouble. We didn’t quite realize why did the bookies offer such high odds on Maia, and why is Askren this big of a favorite. The current odds on his win are 0.50, while on Maia’s triumph are 1.29, and we just have to take a risk here and go for the upset. With all due respect, our trust in Askren is way too low, even though he is a younger and more energetic fighter in this case.