Welcome to the UFC: Nick Maximov and Cody Brundage

UFC Moncton Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

UFC 266 the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevadav this Saturday. The biggest card of the year to date is headlined by featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and number one contender Brian Ortega. In the co-main event, it’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko defending her title against Lauren Murphy. There’s also the return of Nick Diaz off a six-and-a-half-year layoff. He’s fighting former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. In the early portion of the card, two Contender Series alums from 2020 will be debuting against each other. Originally these two were supposed to fight on the Contender Series this year but now they are matching up in the UFC. Maximov was at first set to fight Karl Roberson but Roberson had to pull due to medical issues. Brundage steps in on just a few days notice.

Nick Maximov
Standing at 6’0″
Fighting at 185 lbs (middleweight)
Fighting out of Chico, California, US
Training out of Nick Diaz Academy
A pro record of 6-0
2 KO/TKOs, 3 Submissions

How will Maximov fare in the UFC

Maximov is fighting for the first time since November of 2020. It was a win on the Contender Series against Oscar Cota. He didn’t get a contract but without even having to fight again he still got signed to the UFC. Although he hasn’t fought in nearly a year he’s competed in jiu-jitsu for Submission Underground.

Maximov has fought at middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight. His last fight against Cota was at heavyweight and Maximov is a natural middleweight. Cota weighed about fifty pounds heavier but Maximov still was able to out-wrestle and out-grapple Cota. It was a stupid fight to take but he chose to, and overcame the huge size disadvantage. 185 is where he should stay and heavyweight shouldn’t be in the plans anytime soon.

For Maximov it’s simple; take the fight down and submit the opponent. It’s safe to say Maximov is one-dimensional. He’s limited on the feet and his striking defense doesn’t look good. He makes up for it with his constant heavy wrestling pace. Maximov at times will shoot from too far out telegraphing his shots. He’ll do a good job driving in on the legs and chain wrestle. If he doesn’t get the takedown on the first attempt he will keep at it until he does.

Maximov is a submission guy. Solidifying the top position and transitioning to the dominant position is no problem for him. From everywhere on the mat, Maximov is a danger. He attacks the legs, the arms, and the neck all very well. I have zero to little issue on the mat from Maximov. It’s going to come down to how his gas tank holds up and how he develops on the feet offensively and defensively. He’s only 23 so I’d say Maximov has a bright future in this sport.

Cody Brundage
Standing at 6’0″
Fighting at 185 lbs (middleweight)
Fighting out of Littleton, Colorado, US
Training out of Factory X Muay Thai
A pro record of 6-1
3 KO/TKOs, 2 Submissions

How will Brundage fare in the UFC:

Brundage is a good signing and as good as a short-notice replacement possible. He’s more well known for his Contender Series fight last year losing to William Knight. Since then he moved down to middleweight and got back on the board with a win. He looked better than ever and proved that 185 is where he should fight at.

Brundage is capable of being a good striker but his D2 wrestling is his best path to victory. Offensively he’s fine on the feet but defensively moving his head out of the way is a slight issue. As the fight goes on he becomes easier to hit as well. Also in the past he’s lacked good movement but it’s gotten better. Brundage will let his hands go not stalling in at any point. He has a good one-two, attacks with leg kicks, and his right hand is a good one.

Brundage is comfortable getting some time on the feet before he decides to wrestle. It’s still a question as to how good his wrestling is, due to the lack of footage, but I’d imagine it’s even better at 185. Where he’s going to be a problem is when he solidifies top position. His transitions are both fluid and strong. Moving into dominant positions to the mount and on the back has been no problem for him. Brundage can do very well in the UFC but there are still a lot of things he has to show.

Who has the advantage?

Striking: Brundage
Speed: Maximov
Output/Volume: Brundage
Knockout Power: Neither
Chin: Unknown
Kickboxing: Brundage
Footwork: Maximov
Wrestling: Maximov
Grappling: Maximov
Submissions: Maximov
Cardio: Maximov

How these two match up:

This fight is very interesting, and outright exciting for the same reason. Even though Brundage is a wrestler the striking is where he has a significant advantage. And even though Brundage is a D2 wrestler I expect Maximov to be the one getting the takedowns with his relentless pace. Grappling-wise I strongly favor Maximov even if he’s off his back. So far, Brundage has solid takedown defense but he hasn’t fought someone as good and as relentless as Maximov. It’s going to come down to whether Brundage can stuff the takedowns. I think he will at first but the pressure will wear on him over time. Maximov is the pick.