UFC on FX 4's main event was a bit of a let down for fans. Clay Guida, considered to be an action fighter, put together a head scratching performance as he actively avoided fighting Gray Maynard. Guida looked to stick and move, at times dancing and shuffling just outside of Maynard's range. It was very clear that Guida knew that Maynard had the advantage in striking and power, which was a bad combination for Guida.
Considering Maynard was the better wrestler and Guida was forced to fall back on his only advantage, his energy. It seemed very what Guida wanted to do, stick and move. Getting in and out striking range, hopefully frustrating Maynard into making mistakes and opening up more chances for Guida to strike.
Part of the plan certainly worked, Maynard's flat footed movement meant he had a great deal of difficulty attempting to land strikes on the constantly moving Guida. While a disappointing performance for Guida it has shown a very large hole in Maynard's ability to strike and move fluidly. And Maynard very clearly became frustrated, leaping for strikes and flipping the middle finger to Guida on multiple occasions.
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Where Guida's performance lacked was in effective offensive output, according to FightMetric.com Guida landed only 49 strikes out of 327 thrown. When combined with his three failed takedown attempts, this ranks among the worst five round offensive performances in UFC history.
Some have compared Guida's game plan to the one Carlos Condit employed against Nick Diaz, pointing out that both fighters have the same coach in Greg Jackson. This comparison is unfair and the similarities are superficial at best. Much of the "proof" in this argument is based around that at points both fighters turned their backs to run at points in the fight. This kind of analysis is only skin deep however. Condit was facing a fighter in Nick Diaz, who use a street fighting, brawling approach. Diaz moves forward slowly and traps opponents on the fence and then overwhelms them. Condit's use of movement and counter is how strikers all across the world are taught to deal with flat footed punchers, move and counter. The countering being a key difference, Condit kept the fight at a kicking range and unloaded strikes on Diaz as he plodded forward, landing over 100 more strikes than Guida did in the same period of time.
A much better comparison of Guida's actual game plan more to how UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz handles striking on the feet. While clearly a failed attempt at imitation Guida, like Cruz, was constantly moving and never standing with his feet set in front of Maynard. Cruz however is far more diverse with his offensive attack than Guida, mixing in takedown attempts in with a variety of strikes. Another factor that works in Cruz's favor his is relative length compared to the men he is fighting, his reach allows him to dance into a range and land easier than Guida having to risk getting closer to Maynard.
The problem here is not the fact that Guida game planned for this fight, it is he did not have the required offensive skill to execute said game plan. Guida has never been an overly gifted fighter when it comes to offense, as many of his most memorable moments have come in losses. While he was able to frustrate Maynard, it was not a game plan that was built with a realistic eye towards Guida's actual ability.