It wasn’t the main event fans were hoping to see at “UFC 112: Invincible,” but middleweight champion Anderson Silva will be showcased just the same.
The planet’s baddest 185-pounder enters his contest against Demian Maia an 8-to-1 favorite to make his seventh consecutive title defense.
“The Spider” was last seen embarrassing Forrest Griffin with a vicious barrage of jabs at UFC 101. Silva is currently riding an 11-fight win streak, disposing all but one of those foes before the final horn.
Silva was originally slated to face top contender Vitor Belfort tomorrow inside the Concert Arena, however the former UFC light heavyweight champion was forced to pull out of the highly anticipated bout due to a shoulder injury.
Maia gladly accepted the challenge of trying to hand Silva his first loss in over four years, despite being six days removed from his unanimous decision victory over Dan Miller at UFC 109, and only 57 days away from the UFC’s debut in Abu Dhabi.
The Brazilian jiu jitsu wizard owns an impressive 12-1 professional record and has finished in 10 of those W’s, eight by way of submission.
The only loss of Maia’s career is against former top contender Nate Marquardt, the same Marquardt that was thoroughly trounced by Silva at UFC 73.
At +500, not too many folks are giving Maia much of a chance, and rightfully so considering Silva has run through everyone he’s fought over the last several years.
Although Silva is also a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, Maia will certainly have the edge if the championship fight were to somehow turn into a grappling match.
Consider Maia an advanced version of Travis Lutter. It was Lutter who presented Silva with the most “trouble” he faced since emerging on the Octagon scene. The vet had Silva fully mounted, however couldn’t capitalize and was ultimately caught in a triangle choke.
If Silva is able to dispose of Maia, he still has Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and possibly Marquardt breathing down his neck for a shot at his strap.
There’s also the possibility of another fight at 205-pounds, or a future welterweight affair, or a heavyweight scrap …
Don’t forget UFC 112 kicks off early tomorrow, with the live pay-per-view broadcast beginning at 1PM ET/10AM PT. However, a same-day replay will also be made available during the UFC’s customary 10PM ET/7PM PT time slot.