This Friday, the headline fight of UFC on FX will feature a highly anticipated fight between two elite lightweights as Gray “The Bully” Maynard goes toe-to-toe with Clay “The Carpenter” Guida. It’s a fight that may not have title implications, but it could propel one of the fighters into top four contention. Both are coming off losses, either to the current UFC lightweight champion, Ben Henderson, or the former champion, Frankie Edgar.
The fight sells itself as both athletes are exhilerating to watch when on top form, but when you throw in the element of redemption and how each fighter needs the win to get back into the mix, it somehow makes this fight even more fascinating.
CouchFighter’s writers weigh-in with their opinions on how the fight will go.
The anticipation is nearly over and this one is nearly here and before it gets underway, some psychology has come into it.
Maynard’s camp recently spoke to the athletic commission as they want Guida to tie his hair during their fight. Apparently they feel that Guida’s long curly locks could hinder Maynard’s progress.
Guida is a relentless, well-rounded fighter, and a great wrestler. His conditioning is unparalleled and he is hungry to get a rematch bout with newly crowned lightweight champion Ben Hendeson. Guida was on an incredible four-fight winning streak when he faced off against then top contender Henderson and lost via unanimous decision. A win over Maynard will surely place him back on top to fight for his first every lightweight title shot.
Fighting Maynard will be no easy task as he too had been on an unstoppable four-fight winning streak before losing to Frankie Edgar during an impressive fight for the title, their second championship clash after the first ended in a draw. A win for Maynard will mean a new opportunity to perhaps fight a new champion and have another crack at the belt.
Guida has one of the strongest chins in his division. No doubt Maynard will try to outstrike Guida at first so Guida’s best chance will be to take the fight to the ground and use his wrestling to out muscle Maynard.
Maynard, we know, is no slouch on the ground. He too possesses outstanding wrestling, but has yet to capitalize in recent fights with his ground techniques. Therefore Guida may have a slight advantage over Maynard on the ground.
Both fighters have outstanding conditioning so this fight can easily go the distance. My prediction is that Guida takes the victory via unanimous decision. He will use his wrestling to take down Maynard and neutralize his striking abilities.
This will truly be an exciting bout. Two top lightweights going at it for a chance getting back in the title mix.
The sole question which will likely deem the outcome of this fight is: can Maynard maintain his composure and execute his fight plan, while facing Guida’s tenacious and aggressive style? Based on fight style, techniques, and execution, Maynard should be the clear favorite in this fight. However, he will be facing the hybrid half-man, half-rabid bulldog, non-stop whirlwind of mayhem that is Clay Guida.
As is the case with a Clay Guida fight, fans can expect the typical never back down tenacity from Guida, which tends to mimic the visual equivalent of a bullfighter locked in a cage with the Tasmanian devil. Therefore, Maynard may experience a bit of cage shock during the first round, while trying to establish his range, likely looking to execute solid defensive footwork and counter strikes.
After adapting to the initial pace and successfully finding his distance, Maynard’s confidence should continue to grow as the fight goes on, and his superior wrestling should take over control of the fight. Fans can anticipate that Guida will be putting the pressure on Maynard early and often.
But, if Maynard can survive the initial onslaught and pressure from Guida, he is likely to establish a confident striking range, and begin to impose his will. Maynard’s striking should then open opportunities for a takedown, where he can take control of the match and await his openings for strikes and/or a possible submission finish.
With both fighters coming off of recent losses, they should both come out hungry for this one. However, this journalist sees Maynard implementing his excellent wrestling to limit Guida’s aggressive attack, and to control the pace of the fight. The fight goes to the judges, and Maynard takes home a much needed unanimous decision victory.
No doubt many people have some high expectations for this fight and rightly so. With his seemingly consistent “Fight Of The Night” garnishes, Clay Guida is once again looking to put on another spectacular performance to solidify himself in the mix for title contention. He believes that if he can decisively finish Gray Maynard, he will achieve just that. I understand why he believes this, but I do not share the same enthusiasm.
The UFC’s lightweight division is so stacked with talent right now but has been stalled for over two years with the same four fighters, Maynard being one of them. There is no more room to lose. Both of these guys are in a weird situation.
Even if Guida can go out there and dominate Maynard and win by a powerful knockout or by some slick and artful submission, it is not enough to be considered a contender. The same goes for Maynard.
Guida also has a history of coming up on the losing end of big fights, regardless of how exciting his performance was. He is going to have to be more technical that he has ever shown to beat Maynard. He shouldn’t be trying to get a win in epic fashion, but be patient and just get the win itself.
Maynard also should be technical, focusing on getting a win and not gambling to force himself into an already cramped slot at 155 by trying to prove why he is still a contender.
Even with his record of coming up short in bigger fights, I’m taking Guida in this one by unanimous decision.
I feel that Guida will be able to show more patience with a technical game plan and use his ultra high cardio and footwork to be just a little too much for Maynard.