Maia is a lot better than Palhares, guys. His striking is better. His wrestling has looked better (despite the muscular differences.) His gas tank is better. He also has a knack for not doing illegal things.
When Maia was at MW, a lot of times he was content striking. When he tried taking a guy down like Sonnen, he got it. When Palhares fights wrestlers like Henderson, he gently lies down on his back in a nap position and invites his opponent to come crawl down on top of him.
Not hating on Palhares, but this is not the best comparison. Anyone at any weight has a chance of getting subbed by either guy on the ground. Maia found success because he's back to using his BJJ and leaving his striking behind. The only thing I'll say they both might have going for them is at WW, their suspect chins are less likely to lose them the fight.
MMA Podcast hosted by myself and Alex (MethodMMA)