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Demian Maia vs. Gilbert Burns targeted for UFC Brasilia

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Demian Maia and Kamaru Usman Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Submission experts Demian Maia and Gilbert Burns are expected to clash this spring.

The welterweights are targeted to meet at UFC Brasilia on March 14, multiple people with knowledge of the matchup told MMA Fighting following a report from Combate; verbal agreements are in place with contracts expected to follow.

UFC Brasilia takes place at Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil, and is expected to air on ESPN+.

Maia, 42, is three months removed from a triumphant win over Ben Askren that marked his third straight win. Afterward, he curiously called for a fight against Diego Sanchez, his second shot at a winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” after a try at Michael Chiesa.

Maia, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert with the second most UFC wins in promotional history (22), repeatedly has flirted with calling it quits. He said he’d only fight twice more after beating Askren.

If that schedule holds, he’ll take one step closer to closing things out against Burns, who’s won his past four. A decorated submission grappler, Burns has developed into a well-rounded threat and returned to the welterweight division this past year after an uneven run at lightweight.