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Demian Maia vs. Shinya Aoki

Discussion in 'Fantasy Matchup Discussion' started by Safton, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. Safton Purple Belt

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    Two MMA grappling specialists (with a notable late-career common opponent in Ben Askren) duking it out is something I've always wanted to see. I suspect Maia would have a leg up due to size, experience against more elite competition, and greater willingness to adopt skills outside of his comfort zone (boxing, offensive wrestling, etc.) -- but I want to see the opinion of others on the matter in a few different scenarios:

    1.) Prime versions of each fighter in a ring enclosure under PRIDE rules. Three rounds. Fight takes place at 83 kg (183 pounds).

    2.) Current versions of each fighter in a cage under Unified Rules (or, if you all would prefer it, you can discuss ONE-style rules instead). Five five-minute rounds. Fight takes place at 170 pounds (or 185 if we're going with ONE rules).

    3.) No-gi submission grappling match. ADCC rules @ -76.9 kg (169.5 pounds).

    4.) Gi grappling match. IBJJF Adult Black Belt rules @ 82.3 kg (181 pounds).


    Bonus:
    replace Demian Maia with Gunnar Nelson.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  2. LEWIS540 .

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    Maia
    Maia
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  3. Safton Purple Belt

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    How do you see Maia most likely winning?

    To play Devil's advocate: you don't think Aoki would have an edge even in a ring where he has vastly more experience than Maia?

    Do you rate Gunnar's chances just as highly?
     
  4. G10 Blue Belt

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    1.) Maia all day. I love Aoki's grappling, but as his fight with Askren proved, size does matter in MMA, ESPECIALLY for grappling heavy fighters.
    2.) Maybe Aoki at 170lbs, but I doubt it. Aoki's standup might be better than Maia's, assuming he would take the fight seriously.
    3.) Maia. He has a gold medal in this exact same competition.
    4.) Honestly, not sure. I don't enough about both guys' background on training with a gi.
     
    Safton likes this.
  5. Safton Purple Belt

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    Interesting. I would have thought that more people might favor Aoki in the PRIDE scenario despite the size desparity due to Maia's lack of experience fighting in a ring and under that ruleset. That said, I understand where you're coming from of course. Size in grappling is crucial and Demian is the larger man.

    As for Shinya's accolades competing in the gi, he was top five in Japan as a collegiate judoka (sort of like being an NCAA D1 All-American wrestler in the States in terms of how the sport is treated), won the 2004 Japan Reversal Cup, won the 2005 Japan Dumau/Kansai Cup, won the All-Japan Jiu Jitsu Championship twice (once as a Brown Belt in 2004 and again as Black Belt in 2005), and won Rickson Gracie's Budo Challenge at Middleweight.

    Impressive, but in hindsight I suppose it doesn't match up to Maia's accolades which are really quite impressive in the gi: 2006 Pan-Am Champ, multiple top three finishes at CBJJ/IBJJF competitions at the Brazilian national and world championship level as a Purple, Brown, and Black Belt. He has wins over the likes of Jacare Souza in the gi, among others.

    The Judo background is one thing Aoki seems to have going for him, but I don't expect that to do him much good; Maia is a solid wrestler, good in a scramble, and has faced good judokas before. Shinya's accolades -- while incredible -- just seem to be confined largely to the regional level, where he is very dominant. Outside of that sphere a bit less so... which I guess now that I think about it is arguably the story of his entire career, even outside of the grappling circuit.

    10/10 would still watch.
     
    G10 likes this.

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