In the main event of Friday night's UFC on FX 4, Lightweight top contenders Gray Maynard (10-1-1(1); 8-1-1(1) UFC) and Clay Guida (29-12; 9-6 UFC) face off. The USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings currently have Maynard ranked as the #4 Lightweight in the world with Guida at #7. The main card airs live on FX Friday night at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
This is an intriguing fight as, had things gone a bit differently, it could have been for the UFC Lightweight title. Both men are coming in off a loss - Maynard to Frankie Edgar and Guida to Ben Henderson. Those loses set up the UFC 144 title fight between Edgar and Henderson. You could look at this as a sort of 3rd place in the division fight, though during each fighter's somewhat lengthy layoff, Nate Diaz has stepped in and claimed his spot as the division's #3. The winner here will find himself back in the title hunt, while the loser will see his momentum really fade. It's a big fight for both.
How do these two stack up?
Maynard: 33 years old | 5'8" | 70" reach
Guida: 30 years old | 5'7" | 69" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Gray "The Bully" Maynard comes in off his classic 2011 pair of fights with Frankie Edgar. Those fights saw Maynard come about as close to being a UFC champion as you can possibly get, yet still come up short both times. This will be an interesting test for Maynard, as he is coming in off a loss for the first time in his professional career. He seemed very frustrated that he did not win the first title fight with Edgar - how will his mental game be here? Like Guida, Maynard is a grinding wrestler, though he is also happy to slug it out on the feet. A longtime member of the team at Xtreme Couture, Maynard left that camp after the Edgar loss and has been training at Nova Uniao and American Kickboxing Academy for this fight.
Clay "The Carpenter" Guida has been a UFC fan favorite since his debut with the company in 2006. At first, he was known for his action-packed fights, putting on classics against the like of Tyson Griffin and Roger Huerta. But he was also known largely for losing those fights. He changed camps a few years ago, moving to Albuquerque to train with Greg Jackson and has managed to reinvent himself as a fighter, focusing more on his wrestling and strategy instead of just wild fights. That move has served him well, as he was on a four fight win streak before the loss to Henderson last November. With wins over Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz, Guida is absolutely a contender in the division, though he's never quite made it over that last hurdle and become a title challenger.
Why should you care?
This is a great fight between two very evenly matched opponents. Expect a war here, with both men looking to grind down their opponent and beat them into submission. Add in the title shot implications as well, and you have one fantastic main event - the best fight of the 2 show UFC weekend in my opinion.
More UFC on FX 4 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.