It wasn't a pretty fight. Hell, it wasn't really a fight. It was an impressive triple-round 10-9 victory for Clay Guida, spearheaded by a cynical interpretation of the Unified Rules and the definition of "activity". Takedowns followed by shoulder thrusts and little else ad infinitum. Hey, whatever works. Whatever fucking works.
I ain't mad. Okay, I'm a little mad. I was high on Pettis, I confess. Before this fight, I had every angle covered. He's not just flash, he's got excellent striking fundamentals to back it up! He's not only a striker, he's got lots of submissions! He won't succumb to wrestling, he beat Shane Roller! What he hadn't experienced was the bitter sting of trying to fight someone who was playing a different game altogether. Pettis showed up to fight, Guida showed up to win a Unified Rules contest.
All warfare is based on deception. - Sun Fucking Tzu
We know what Guida did on the ground, but let's take a look at what Guida did get it there. His approach was very similar to the Gomi fight. Bouncing on his feet outside the pocket, frustrating his opponent with lots of head movement, then moving in quickly with one or two strikes before going for the takedown. It's probably the first thing taught in an MMA wrestling class. Make the opponent believe you're committing to strikes, then wrench his legs out from under him. Guida did this almost perfectly.
Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. - Sun Tzu
Pettis comes forward with a half-hearted left hand strike upstairs before throwing a moderately powerful leg kick. An entirely reasonable approach - take away the speed and agility of Guida! Unfortunately, Guida's quick reflexes allow him to catch the kick. He lifts Pettis' right leg high in the air with his left hand and powers through, twisting Pettis sideways and tipping him over. Pettis, for his part, was unable to mount any significant defense against the attempt. Pettis fell into the trap - coming forward and striking only to be be countered with a takedown.
For the first minute of the second round, Guida engaged in his signature style of stand-up. Bouncing around far outside the pocket, wading in with jabs and kicks before bouncing out again. Pettis moving forward, Guida generally moving backward-ish. Pettis throws a slow jab and Guida instantly ducks down and powers through on a double-leg takedown, clasping his hands together as he pushes Pettis agains the fence. Once those hands are together and below the hips, it's only a matter of picking Pettis up and sitting him down. Again, worth noticing, is that Pettis finds himself caught off-guard by the speed and agility of Guida, and is unable to get his arms down to prevent Guida from locking his hands together on the drive through.
By this point in the fight, Guida has the confidence to be moving forward in the stand up and Pettis seems to set back into counter fighting mode. Almost like clockwork, after one minute of standing exchanges, Guida gets the takedown. Pettis looks for a big counter right, ends up missing as Guida dips down and grabs legs again. Note how quickly Guida moves into the takedown off the lead leg body kick and the angle of his drive through.
Third round, Clay full of confidence moving forward throwing strikes. 40 seconds in and yet again Pettis tries to sneak in that counter right and yet again Guida drops down and secures the takedown. You may notice here that Pettis looks like he's in slow motion compared to Guida. Well, as Bruce Lee says:
Speed is a complex aspect. It includes time of recognizing and time of reacting. The more complex the situation to which one reacts, the slower one is likely to be. Thus, the effectiveness of feints.
Guida only has to worry about Pettis' striking, Pettis has to worry about Guida's strikes and takedowns. Also, look back at the .gifs; notice anything? Guida's timing and sense for counter-takedowns is impeccable, that's what I notice.
Pettis is a good fighter, and still quite young. Pettis knows how to fight and he knows how to win. Right now, though, he needs to learn from his loss to Guida and learn the most difficult lesson and most critical key to success in combat sports - how not to lose.
Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy. - Sun Tzu
The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.