UFC Lightweight Clay Guida danced and pranced and baited Clay Maynard for five rounds that featured a great deal of action but frustrated fans nonetheless. Both men landed hard hard punches and kicks to their opponent but no clear conclusion was reached. The judges called it for Maynard in a split decision.
Guida came out showing the exaggerated, almost spastic, head movement he's been using recently. He made Maynard miss repeatedly and then Guida landed the first hard shot of the fight, a left to the face. Maynard, bloodied, backed away. But then he came in with a lead left hook that connected. Guida continued to move strangely. Guida's broken rhythm completely confused Maynard. Maynard caught Clay coming in. The crowd chanted for Guida. They traded front kicks. Guida kept up the strange dance and made Maynard miss repeatedly. Guida landed a couple of winging punches, if only glancingly. But he kept up the motion through the end of the round.
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Guida scored first in the second, then he got an eye poke that made Maynard call time out. They re-commenced and the dance continued. Maynard tried to pressure Guida more. Guida made him pay with a 1-2 that connected. Maynard threw a few kicks. Guida landed a high kick. Maynard cut off the cage and forced Guida into a much tighter fight. Maynard landed a right that had Guida blinking. Guida landed a hard high kick and followed with a 1-2. They danced away the rest of the round.
Guida landed a knee to start the third. Maynard landed a hurtful right hand and Guida responded by launching into a crazy monkey dance that clearly frustrated Maynard. Maynard landed a nice kick. Guida did a series of Muhammad Ali moves, sticking and moving. Maynard chased after Guida with a lead right hook,. Maynard shot in and Guida used underhooks to get free.Guida continued dancing and provoked Maynard into chasing him across the cage, floundering wildly. Maynard complained of an eye poke but Ref Dan Miragliotta said to continue. Guida kept dancing and baffling Maynard. The crowd booed as Guida continued to dance. Maynard grabbed Guida and kneed him to the face before the round ended.
In the fourth, Maynard again played pursuit. Guida danced away from a front kick. Maynard went for a Thai clinch and Guida accused him of grabbing his pony tail. Guida tapped Maynard coming in. Maynard tagged Guida with a left. Then he chased and tagged Guida only to catch a counter that backed him off. The crowd booed with frustration. Maynard landed a right. Guida winged a haymaker then fought off a shot. Maynard got a Thai plum and landed some knees, then an uppercut or two. A frustrated Maynard charged forward and let Guida tag him at will for several shots. Maynard then battered Guida and taunted him into shooting. Maynard sprawled then took him down with a head lock. Guida survived and ended the round on top and landing strikes.
Maynard came out aggressive. Guida scored first. Maynard chased down Guida and landed a pair of right hooks. Guida circled away. Guida landed a hard high kick that seemed to freeze Maynard. Maynard landed a big shot. Guida kept landing counters. Maynard shot in and got sloughed off. Maynard chasing again. Guida got a warning for not engaging and the fireworks began. Both men landed hard shots but Maynard landed more and harder. Guida sprawled to fend off a double leg and then a single that morphed into a body lock. Maynard with a knee to the body. Maynard landed some hard knees from the Thai plum but Guida escaped. Maynard refused to shake hands after the fight.
Here's how they got here, explained by Fraser Coffeen:
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.