by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder Anderson “The Spider” Silva puts his bet on the line for the fifth time at UFC 97 against Thales Leites at the Bell Center in Montreal on Saturday night. Middleweight contenders Nate Marquardt and Demian Maia will be watching the main event closely and both weighed in with their thoughts about the match-up.
Nate Marquardt (28-8-2) was defeated by Silva at UFC 73 in July of 2007, but has worked his way back into title contention since the loss.
“I would definitely say that Silva has the advantage, but Thales has a big chance because I’m sure he’s about twice as good on the ground. If he’s able to get Silva to the ground successfully, he’s going to put him in a lot of trouble.”
Demian Maia remains undefeated with a 10-0 professional record, including winning all four of his UFC bouts by submission. Maia has thrown his name into the title mix and thinks Leites has the advantage heading into his UFC 97 bout with Anderson Silva.
“I think that Anderson has much more experience, but I think that Thales has a little bit more of an advantage because I fought him in Jiu-Jitsu a long time ago in Brazil. He has good Jiu-Jitsu, or he used to have at least. I don’t know how he is now-a-days because he’s focusing training mixed martial arts – if he puts Anderson down, it’s going to be really hard on Anderson,” stated the Jiu-Jitsu specialist. “Anderson is an amazing fighter. I say it’s 50/50.”