In a bout that will more than likely determine the #1 contender for the UFC’s middleweight title, Demian Maia will take on Nate Marquardt at UFC 102 which is tentatively scheduled for August 29th and will be held in Portland, Oregon.
MMAJunkie.com was the first to report the bout between the two middleweight dynamos on its website earlier today.
Speculation has been running rampant about who would face Anderson Silva next with the winner of Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson also under consideration after their bout at UFC 100 in July.
Marquardt is coming off an impressive third round TKO over Wilson Gouveia at UFC 95. Maia scored his tenth win in as many fights as well as his fifth submission victory in as many UFC fights on the same card against former WEC middleweight title contender Chael Sonnen. This fight has been talked about for some time now as well as both men seemed to have valid claims to be the #1 contender to Silva’s title.
Maia may have been hurt a bit by the poor performance put on by fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Thales Leites at UFC 97 against Silva. Leites showed absolutely no desire to fight Silva and many fans and pundits alike believed that Maia although a more talented fighter than Leites was too similar and that the UFC would want to avoid a repeat performance in a Silva title fight.
Marquardt has had a shot at Silva back at UFC 73 in July of 2007 but was stopped by TKO in the first round. He has seemed to improve all aspects of his game while under the tutelage of Greg Jackson and many believe he would offer Silva a much better fight the second time around. Marquardt is 3-1 since his fight with Silva losing a controversial split decision to Leites at UFC 85 in June of 2008, Marquardt was penalized two points during that bout. One point was deducted for kneeing in the head while he was still on the ground and the second point was deducted for Marquardt hitting Leites on the back of the head. Referee Herb Dean was heavily criticized for taking that point away.
UFC 102 is to be headlined by a battle of former UFC heavyweight champions as Randy Couture will face former PRIDE superstar Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera. Also set to appear on this card are local fighters Chael Sonnen who will take on Wilson Gouveia, a returning Chris Leben will battle Jake Rosholt and Junior Dos Santos will battle Justin McCully.