So I’m sure that you guys are probably focused on the NBA Finals right now. And that’s cool. Basketball’s a fun game. An exciting game. But sometimes, for the sake of your sanity, you might want to look elsewhere (coughcoughGregBrzozowsaksdfhaopsidnfskicough).
Fear not! I’ve got you covered.
This Friday, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, UFC on F/X: Maynard vs. Guida will hit your television screens. There, we’ll see what I think will be a very entertaining scrap between two stalwarts of the Lightweight division. Unfortunately, both fighters are coming off losses. Both of the men that these guys last lost to will be fighting for the title in a few months though, so their caliber of opposition is definitely strong. I’d like to take a moment to give you a bit of an introduction to each fighter, and then talk about how each man can possibly win.
WHO THEY ARE
Let’s start with Gray Maynard.
Gray has a phenomenal record in the UFC, with Frankie Edgar being the only guy to ever beat him. He also has a draw with Mr. Edgar in his first title attempt, and a No Contest (NC) with Rob Emerson in his first UFC bout, which was extremely interesting. Maynard slammed Emmerson to the mat so hard that he broke his rib, forcing Emmerson to immediately tap out. However, Maynard also knocked himself out, and the ref declared it a NC. (It was very funny to watch Joe Rogan explain to a clearly out-of-it but grumpy Maynard that he was knocked out).
Anyway, Gray only has one finish on his resume, preferring to use his superior wrestling skills to control his opponents and grind out the decision. However, that’s not to say that he lacks finishing power. That one KO? He got it in 9 seconds, for a while a UFC record. And he certainly wasn’t shying away from using those power punches—especially that mean left hook—against Frankie Edgar. If Frankie Edgar was anyone else in the lightweight division, and I mean ANYONE, I think Gray Maynard would be holding up the belt right now. Unfortunately, I don’t think Batman could knock out Frankie Edgar (Or a bread truck for that matter), so Gray’s fighting back for a slot.
Clay Guida is the Maverick to Maynard’s Iceman. His record has a couple more losses on it. He’s never seen a UFC title or gotten a shot at one. His hair is long and crazy, and he has no problem taking a beating (try and find Clay Guida’s fight against Diego Sanchez for one of the best fights I’ve ever seen). He takes risks. If biting weren’t strictly against the rules, he might try it. You never know. But for the most part, people seem to be a lot more excited about his fights than those of Mr. Maynard.
Guida has finished 5 of 9 opponents in the UFC, with 4 of those 5 submissions. His pace is frenetic, like he’s constantly being tazed or just drank 3 red bulls. He “whipped his hair back and forth” LONG before it was cool. His gas tank won’t ever give out. And he’ll dig for the submissions. He’s also quite a ground-specialist, being a pretty good wrestler.
HOW THEY WIN
Standing: This one is pretty much all Maynard. Yes, I know Guida has that one TKO finish, but recently his standup has just been a precursor to set up takedowns. Maynard, on the other hand, loads up on that left hook. And recently, it seems as though he’s trying to explore more of that boxing. His wrestling against Frankie Edgar during their first meeting was stifling and dominant, and yet he switched it up and tried to go for more of that boxing power. Guida’s a hard man to knock out, but I’d definitely be more inclined to bet on Frankie Edgar’s chin than Guida’s, and Maynard almost took out Frankie (Twice).
Ground: This is where it gets rather tricky. This is the battlefield where the outcome will be determined. Maynard’s wrestling is incredibly solid. He’s a fairly big lightweight, and so his size matters when he’s holding you down on the ground for 15-25 minutes. His takedowns are very good, and his control while on the ground is outstanding. There’s a reason he has so many decision victories, and not a single one of those has ended in some kind of submission. When you’re on the ground, Gray Maynard will keep you there. And you’ll be playing Maynard’s game.
The difference here is that I have no idea what Maynard can be doing off his back. I don’t know that he really has much in the way of a submission game, and so his ground game, although powerful, will be pretty one-dimensional.
This is not a problem that Guida suffers. He’s a fantastic wrestler on his own, and although I would say that he’s probably not quite as good a pure wrestler as Gray, he transitions very well to submissions. He’s trying to end the fight when you’re on the ground with him. And that’s a huge difference maker. If Gray’s on top, Guida will be throwing submissions up there. But if Clay is on top…Maynard might be kinda boned.
Advantage: I’m going to give this one to Guida based on his versatility. Maynard has a great game, absolutely can (and statistically he will) get that takedown. But if Guida does instead, it’ll spell trouble for “The Bully.”
Now, I know you’re sitting there just wondering “Jeez Andy, you’re probably the coolest guy ever, how do I be more like you? Ok, now that you’ve told us all about this matchup, who wins?”
I see Gray Maynard taking this fight down. I think he’s got the power to knock Guida out, but more importantly I think he’s got the power to stun Clay and then take him down. His wrestling is great, and his newfound love of striking has shown that ground-n-pound might be a possibility. But beyond that, I just think he’ll look to bully Guida.
If the fight goes long, I can see him getting tired as he did at points during his fight with Frankie. And the later the fight goes, the more it favors Guida. But I think the Bully is going to get right back in line for contention (I’m secretly hoping they give him a rematch of Nate Diaz).
I hope all of your readers out there take the time to tune in on Friday, and I hope you guys enjoy it!
(Also, please feel free to leave some comments as far as what you’d like to see more of in these write-ups. Would you like more statistics? Visuals? Videos? Poop jokes? I’m here to serve, people. Just let me know.)