UFC 263 Preview: Belal Muhammad – Demian Maia

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 263, we will see a showdown between two top fifteen welterweights. 12th ranked Belal Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC) returns as he takes on the MMA legend Demian Maia (28-10).

What a career it’s been for Demian Maia and UFC 263 might just be the end. At 43 years old, Maia might be gearing up to hang up the gloves. Maia made his UFC debut in just his seventh pro fight all the way back in 2007.

He’s been fighting with the promotion an astonishing 14 years and holds a UFC record of 22-10. During that stretch, Maia has challenged for both the UFC middleweight and welterweight championships.

While he’s never won a world title, Maia has proven to be the model of consistency. When he lost to Gilbert Burns last March, that snapped a three-fight win streak. Had he won that fight with Burns, he might’ve gotten another UFC title shot.

Standing across from Maia tomorrow night is Belal Muhammad. Back in March, Muhammad had a golden opportunity. On short notice, the UFC gave him a main event slot against Leon Edwards. If Muhammad won that fight, he would’ve jumped right into the title picture.

However, an accidental eye poke in the second round by Edwards ended the fight in a No Contest. That NC snapped a four-fight winning streak. Muhammad is looking to get back on the winning track tomorrow night at UFC 263.

UFC 263 Prediction

When examining this matchup at UFC 263, I can’t help but think it’s a tough one for Demian Maia. Maia is one of the best jiu jitsu practitioners the UFC has ever seen. However, we’ve seen him struggle to get fights to the ground especially against top level wrestlers.

Well, Belal Muhammad is a very good wrestler. On the feet, I think Muhammad is going to have a clear advantage. I’m expecting a ton of pressure from Muhammad and I think we are going to see even more improvement in his striking.

In his Dhiego Lima fight back in February, I was incredibly impressed with the boxing of Belal Muhammad. I don’t think Maia will get this to the mat, and I just see Muhammad winning the striking exchanges at UFC 263. Don’t think we see a finish, but I think we will see a clear win for “Remember the Name”.

Prediction: Belal Muhammad by Unanimous Decision

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