According to oddsmakers, Woodley is favored to retain his championship, as he is listed with -205 odds to win. Maia is getting a money line of +165 to win the title. These two will meet in the co-main event of UFC 214 from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The main card will air live on PPV at 10PM ET.
Woodley (17-3-1) is the welterweight champion looking to make his second successful title defense. He won the championship 1 year ago tomorrow with a first-round KO of Robbie Lawler. His first title defense saw him go to a five-round draw with Stephen Thompson. He then won the rematch by majority decision in another close fight. Woodley is a powerful striker with a good wrestling base. He likes to use his powerful striking early and then grind with his grappling late.
Maia (25-6) is riding a seven-fight win streak to get this title fight. He won a pair of fights last year by choke and then defeated Jorge Masvidal by split decision in May. Maia was a middleweight for many years, but has had great success since moving down to 170 pounds. Maia isn’t much of a striker, but he is arguably the top jiu-jitsu practitioner in the UFC. When he gets an opponent on the ground, he can easily work in a submission.
Maia is a very dangerous opponent. Woodley will be outclassed by him if the fight goes to the ground. However, Woodley has a massive edge in the standup. Woodley has great power in his strikes and much better technical skill when it comes to his boxing and kickboxing. Woodley also has the athleticism to keep Maia off of him in the early going. I think Woodley will catch Maia with a big punch in the early rounds and use a flurry of strikes to finish the fight before Maia can get the chance to get the fight to the ground.
UFC Predictions – Tyron Woodley -205