UFC Fight Night Brazil Main Card Picks & Mini-Preview: Shields vs Maia

By Josh Nason

Two BJJ experts square off in the main event of UFC Fight Night, live from Brazil on Fox Sports 1.

Our panel of pickers:

- Dave Meltzer (74-32 -- .698):
Wrestling Observer founder & writer

- Todd Martin (75-31 -- .707):
Weekly FFD guest | LA Times | Sherdog

- Mike Sempervive (66-40 -- .622): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Mike Sawyer (71-35 -- .669):
ToughTalkMMA.com, co-host of the reunited Tough Talk!

- Josh Nason (75-31 -- .707):
Wrestling Observer web editor & social media guy

- Oliver Copp (68-38 -- .641): of combat sports insider fame, co-host of the reunited Tough Talk!.

Demian Maia (18-4) vs. Jake Shields (28-6-1-1)

Since dropping to 170, the 35-year-old Maia has been fantastic, downing Stun Gun Kim by freak 1st round TKO, submitting Rick Story in the 1st round and dominating Jon Fitch over three rounds in February. After a run of seven straight decisions, he's finally got the interest level back that he had after he opened his UFC career with five straight submission wins.

In his way is the 34-year-old Shields, who looks for his second straight UFC win. Since coming over from Strikeforce, Shields is 3-2-0-1 and failed a post-fight drug test last year. He hasn't had a dominant victory since his Octagon career began and hasn't lived up to the hype a 15-fight win streak will give you.

This could either be a great BJJ match, or a very blah fight that stays on the feet. The way Maia has been going lately though, expect him to pressure Shields and not revert back to his previously dull ways.

Maia: Nason, Meltzer, Sawyer, Copp, Martin, Sempervive

Erick Silva (15-3-0-1) vs. "Stun Gun" Kim (17-2-1-1)

After Silva's bubble was popped following a decision loss to Jon Fitch in October 2012, Silva returned to his winning ways by making Jason High tap out in the first round of their June encounter. AFter dropping two of three, Kim is looking for his third straight win after decision victories over Paulo Thiago and Siyar Bahadurzada. Of note, Silva has nine career submissions while Kim has never tapped.

Silva: Nason, Sawyer, Copp, Martin
Kim: Meltzer, Sempervive

Thiago Silva (15-3-0-2) vs. Matt Hamill (11-4)

Silva has had a strange last four years. After starting his career 13-0, Silva is 2-3-0-2, has been busted for drugs twice, and managed to miss weight for his fight against Hamill. Yet, his last fight was a first round KO of Rafael Cavalcante that earned him Fight Of The Night and Knockout Of The Night honors. Go figure. The 36-year-old Hamill returned after a year-long retirement…and then took another year-long retirement after defeating Roger Hollett. He does get 25% of Silva's fight purse for missing weight, so there's that.

Silva: Nason, Meltzer, Martin, Sempervive
Hamill: Sawyer, Copp

Fabio Maldonado (19-6) vs. Joey Beltran (14-8-0-1)

This is a sleeper for Fight Of The Night as Maldonado is a former boxer that loves to take punishment, while Beltran loves to stand and trade with anyone. The problem? Beltran is just 2-5-0-1 in his last eight fights. Since returning to the UFC as a light heavyweight, he's lost to James Te Huna and had a December 2012 decision win over Igor Pokrajac overturned after getting popped for nandrolone. Without a doubt, he's got to win Wednesday night.

Maldonado: Nason, Meltzer, Sawyer, Copp, Martin
Beltran: Sempervive

Rousimar Palhares (14-5) vs. Mike Pierce (17-5)

The man built like a tank drops to 170 pounds after consecutive losses to Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard. Like others on the card, he was popped for a PED violation, testing positive for elevated testosterone after the Lombard defeat last December. (Quite a card, eh?) Pierce has quietly won four straight against the dregs of the division. I find it incredible that Pierce is 9-3 since coming to the UFC. His problem? Fighting name fighters as those three losses came against guys named Fitch, Hendricks, and Koscheck.

Palhares: Nason, Meltzer, Sawyer, Copp
Pierce: Martin, Sempervive

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