Story prepared for challenge of UFC 153

Vancouver-based MMA fighter on main card in Brazil

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter



UFC 153

•7 p.m. PDT on Saturday from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

•Live on pay-per-view television. Check with provider for ordering details.

•Rick Story of Vancouver battles Demian Maia of Brazil in a three-round bout that kicks off the main card.

Rick Story was an accomplished wrestler in college.

Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the skill that carried Story to second place in the NAIA national tournament while at Southern Oregon University could be especially handy if the Vancouver fighter is to earn a significant win during UFC 153.

Story, whose Brave Legion MMA team is based at Inferno Sports and Fitness in Salmon Creek, battles Demian Maia in the first match on the main card of the Ultimate Fighting Championships show.

UFC 153 is headlined by a fight between Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar. It is available on pay-per-view, with Story's fight scheduled to be first on that telecast at 7 p.m. PDT Saturday.

A win in Brazil would be significant for Story, who bounced back from consecutive losses in 2011 with a win over Brock Jardine in June. He has a 14-5 record as a MMA professional, including 7-3 in UFC.

Maia is 16-4 as a pro fighter, 10-4 in UFC events. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and world champion whose ground game is his strength.

Story called Maia an elite grappler, but said his own wrestling experience will provide an interesting contrast to Maia's jiu jitsu.

Story said his team of coaches, led by Pat White, prepared him well for the challenge of fighting Maia.

Story said he didn't make any significant changes to his training routine, but did revisit some wrestling basics since beating Jardine.

"I went back to basics to hone my skills," Story said. He focused on fundamental head movements and footwork and did a lot of basic wrestling drills that are familiar to high school and college wrestlers.

A win over Maia would be the eighth in Story's last 10 UFC performances, and help move him farther up the UFC welterweight pecking order. Before losing twice last year, Story had won six consecutive fights and was getting mentioned as a possible championship contender.

In UFC, Story noted, every fight is a significant opportunity that can define a career. At the same time, any fight could be his last.

"I have all the confidence in myself," Story said. "I know I'm going to do well."