Las Vegas, Nevada will be invaded by the World's largest Mixed Martial Arts organization as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brings it's big dogs, and Lightweight strap to the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 1st, 2011. To help you get into the mood I have once again decided to do the predictions column in a slightly different then normal fashion as I will break down 2 fights a day from the PPV card leading to Friday in which I will break down how I feel the Main Event between Lightweight Champion Frankie 'The Answer Edgar, and the only man to beat him thus far, Gray 'The Bully' Maynard will play out.
Today is the first installment, therefore we will be focusing on Clay Guida as he looks to get his name in the Lightweight belt picture with a win over Takanori Gomi, who is also ready to start thinking UFC gold, should he be able to get passed the thick headed Geico look-a-like. Also Nate Diaz meets up with Dong Hyun Kim. Without further ado, let's get to talking the 'whats' and 'ifs' of these two matchups.
NATE DIAZ vs DONG HYUN KIM
And so it begins. Although many readers will know some of the fighters I dislike, and the ones I am a huge fan of, I try not to let it be known too much in my picks, and on the site in general when writing articles. But I find it okay here since I simply cannot pretend, and since my counterpart (MMBB) is a Diaz Bros fan. I cannot stand either of them, and that's why I'm glad to boast a 3-3 record for Nate, in his last 6 outings. Now this isn't to say he should be mortified of this on his resume, as his losses were to Clay Guida by split decision, Joe Stevenson, and the current unblemished Lightweight #1 contender Gray Maynard. But that's also not going to allow me to see his wins as large relevance to the division (Rory Markham, Marcus Davis, and Melvin Guillard).
Dong Hyun Kim is still relatively untested in terms of big name power, but he is also still undefeated... Sorta. Karo Parisyan was able to defeat Kim, but it was reversed after Karo couldn't keep clean on his post-fight drug test. So a 5-0 record in the UFC (with an asterisk) is the way it stands. The problem is, as low as the name power of wins Diaz has in his last 3 are, Dong's are even lower. Much, much lower. Amir Sodollah is his biggest win to date, as TJ Grant and Matt Brown trail behind.
When this one starts it should resemble that of a frantic frenzy from one man who is considered to have 'a lot of potential' in the eyes of some, and the other will stay relatively robotic, and patient. Diaz will sell the idea that the fight is busier then it is, and this may lead him right into a mistake, but it may also be what he needs to do if he is to be successful, as Kim is very capable of riding out a comfortable decision on this one from staying at bay and beating Diaz to the jab. Kim must avoid all types of sloppy swinging on his way in, and he will then stay out of harms way from a guillotine. If Dong is able to utilize his gameplan properly he should walk away still undefeated with an asterisk, and move on to bigger and better things.
***Dong Hyun Kim via Unanimous Decision***
TAKANORI GOMI vs CLAY GUIDA
This fight poses as a very interesting match up in terms of rewards to the winner, and repercussions to the loser, as both men have tasted recent defeat at the hands of Kenny Florian. Whoever loses on Saturday night will be sent tumbling down the most crowded division ladder in the UFC. A win in dramatic fashion, or pure dominance can give either of these two some legs to stand on when asking the UFC brass just how far he would then be from a shot at gold.
Though neither man has ever been put to sleep by knockout, Gomi does boast 12 KO's to his record, and in his last outing he needed just over a minute to hand Tyson Griffin his very first knockout. So, is Clay Guida in danger of meeting the sandman as well? Most likely not, as Guida is very durable, and would be more likely to be submitted after Gomi landed the big one, rather then be clean out from a shot. This one really could shape up as a Fight of the Night candidate quite easily. Both combatants are sustainable to being submitted, and have never been knocked out. They also are able to go the distance with gas left in the tank (Clay more so then Gomi). Since neither will have the distinct reach Florian had on them, I see this one as a rather wild swinging bonanza, with a lot of ground game sprinkled throughout when Gomi out performs on the feet. Guida will be put in a bad spot numerous times, but will find a way to shake the cobwebs and survive the 15 minutes, while controlling the majority of the fight, and staying busier on the ground.
***Clay Guida via Split Decision***
Although I hate to do this, I do gotta start the bubble bursting right here, as I call 2 decisions, and "may" have more to come in parts 2 and 3 as we explore Brian Stann vs Chris Leben, and Brandon Vera vs Thiago Silva as Vera and Thiago will look desperately to find a big win, and get back in the right direction and good graces of the company President Dana White, who would be undoubtedly considering handing out a pink slip to a lackluster loss from either fighter.
Then head back again Friday to see the fight breakdown as I see it when Gray Maynard looks to repeat his win over current Lightweight Champion Frank Edgar this Saturday night (January 1st).
But first, let me know how you see these bouts playing out? Am I off my rocker, or am I on target? Let's hear it blackbelts.
Thanks for your time guys.