UFC welterweights Demian Maia and Jake Shields will headline UFC Fight Night 29 in Brazil in October.
Maia (18-4) is ranked the #5 welterweight in the world by Sherdog, and is undefeated in his first three fights at 170 pounds. The 35-year-old made his welterweight debut at UFC 148 on July 7, 2012, and defeated Dong Hyun Kim by TKO at 0:47 in the first round. Prior to that, Maia fought as a middleweight. He lost his last match at 185 pounds to the new middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, at UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis on January 28, 2012.
“I am very happy and proud to be the main event. I’ve always wanted to fight for the UFC in São Paulo, were I was born and raised,” Maia said. “I have a special connection with the Jose Correa arena in Barueri, where I had my first major MMA milestone in 2006. My big goal is to get a title shot and become world champion.”
On October 7, 2006, Maia won the Super Challenge Tournament by defeating Vitelmo Kubis Bandeira and Gustavo Machado by rear naked choke and unanimous decision, respectively.
Maia added, “I know Jake Shields is a great opponent, with wins over names such as Dan Henderson and Carlos Condit, and beating him is sure to get me within title contention.”
Shields (28-6-1, 1 NC) is coming off of a split decision victory over Tyron Woodley at UFC 161 on June 15. The 24-year-old said he knew he was facing a tough match, fighting Maia in his native Brazil.
“The Brazilian audience is intimidating and enthusiastic, and it makes for an excellent atmosphere. But once I get in the Octagon, I’ll be focused and ready,” Shields said. “Fighting Demian on his home turf will not be an issue. His strengths are obvious: he’s the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu martial artist in my division. His weakness is his standup. I want to beat him at what he’s best at.”
Welterweights Erick Silva and Dong Hyun Kim will face off in the co-main event of the evening.
[Pictured: Jake Shields; photo credit: teamrks/Flickr]