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Demian Maia: “Fighting for me is a chess game.”

Demian Maia has fought for the UFC middleweight title before, falling to Anderson Silva in a five-round battle in 2010. Now, he hopes to rebound from a loss to Mark Munoz and return to championship contention.

Maia meets Jorge Santiago this Saturday night at UFC 136. Maia-Santiago will be one of at least two bouts shown live on Spike TV prior to the start of the pay-per-view.

Since starting his UFC career off with five straight wins, Maia has gone just 3-3 in his last six while failing to stop anyone early in any of the three victories. For a man that is a five-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion, that just isn’t cutting it.

Maia has been working constantly on improving his striking while on his feet, but has had to find a balance in practice to remain just as strong in his BJJ.

“Ever since my loss to Nate Marquardt, I focused a lot on my stand-up,” said Maia, in an interview with the UFC’s website. “MMA is a complicated game because it’s hard to keep the balance (between martial arts). So at one point, I trained a lot more standing and less jiu-jitsu and I lost a little rhythm on the ground. I’ve been trying to get my focus on jiu-jitsu again.”

Those problems were on display when Munoz dominated Maia en route to claiming a decision victory on all three scorecards back in June. The loss snapped a two-fight win streak for Maia.

Against Santiago, Maia hopes to pick up the victory without inflicting too much pain on his opponent.

“To submit my opponent without him hurting me or me hurting him (would be a perfect fight),” said Maia, who has won four “Submission of the Night” during his UFC career. “Fighting for me is a chess game. I’m not angry with my opponent. I just want to go in there and win.”


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