Clay Guida frustrated Gray Maynard with his constant movement in the ‘UFC On FX 4’ headliner, but while it proved to be an effective strategy in the early rounds, it only succeeded in bringing out an angrier version of the fighter who proceeded to turn the screw and claim a split decision win.
Guida was typically energetic from the opening bell and his constant movement and changes of angles seemed to puzzle the largely static Maynard.
Alongside his whirling dervish routine Guida was also throwing a few strikes, and within the first minute he had already opened up a cut on the bridge of Maynard’s nose.
The remainder of the round passed with not much of note happening with Guida continuing to bob and weave around the cage, essentially giving Maynard no real opportunity to land anything meaningful and he’ll have to step things up a notch in the next round.
The second played out much the same as the first though, although Guida wasn’t landing much either aside from a couple of kicks to the head which didn’t phase Maynard.
For his part Maynard was starting to close down Guida a little more effectively, but still wasn’t able to trap him in any one position long enough to really land too much in the way of heavy leather.
After the third round began looking like a repeat of the previous two Maynard finally attempted to change things up and dove in for a takedown attempt. Guida wasn’t caught off-guard though and fought of both the initial attack and a follow-up.
That left them back to square one and the frustration was clearly evident from Maynard as he continued to chase shadows for much of the rest of the round, only finding a brief moment of success in the final seconds, landing a knee from the clinch. It wasn’t much, but Guida didn’t really offer anything in return over the course of the round so it was significant.
Maynard tried the same tactic in the fourth round, charging in and grabbing the clinch before firing off another successful knee strike. Guida briefly complained to the ref that Maynard was holding his hair.
Things quietened down again for a while which only seemed to fuel Maynard’s anger more and in the latter stages he really ramped things up, literally chasing Guida around the cage.
He finally caught up with him against the cage, locked in the clinch again and rattled off a succession of knees.
That success fired up Maynard and he started taunting Guida, dropping his hands and motioning for him to strike him. Guida responded, and landed a few shots to his face which Maynard happily ate and continued mouthing at him.
Crazy stuff and it wasn’t finished yet as Guida sprung in for a takedown which Maynard sprawled on and then grabbed a hold of his neck and dropped back into the guillotine choke.
It was deep, but Guida was far from done and he manged to break free by bouncing Maynard off the canvas a few times.
The fight had finally sparked to life and the crowd, who had been supporting Guida at first and then booing later on, were now cheering Maynard as the fifth round got underway.
With the momentum now in his favor Maynard came out strongly and was aggressively hunting Guida and starting to find his mark with strikes.
Guida took a rare moment to stop bobbing around the cage and threw a flurry of his own that seemed to put Maynard on the back foot for a second, though he then motioned for him to bring it on.
Instead Guida went back to focusing more on movement and avoidance than striking and before long that strategy finally irked the referee Dan Miragliotta enough to warn him to stop doing that and get back to fighting or he’ll take a point.
Maynard attempts to put a final stamp on the fight in the closing minutes, but isn’t able to get a definitive finish and so it’s down to the judges to separate them.
It’s a close one, but Guida’s lack of offense costs him with two of the three judges seeing the fight for Maynard which gives him the win by split decision (48-47 x2, 47-48).
Guida’s tactics meant this wasn’t always the most enjoyable fight to watch, but it was certainly intriguing to see how it brought out a new angrier side to Maynard which not only proved to be the catalyst for his victory, but also will have won him some new fans.