Kenny Florian (11-4) vs. Clay Guida (25-10): a high quality lightweight match up where two top contenders try bounce back from the losses in their last fights.
You know the phrase “like a caged animal”? That’s the best phrase to describe Carperter Guida, who excels in the cage by keeping up a ridiculous pace and constantly pressuring his opponents. From a technical point of view Guida isn’t the best striker or wrestler in the highly competitive UFC LW division, but he creates opportunities for himself by attacking with something ten times a second. Sure you may defend the first nine, but Guida might catch you with the tenth. This kind of fighting takes of course amazing amount of energy from both fighters, but you can bet on it that it won’t be Guida who gets tired first. Clay lost his last fight by UD to Diego Sanchez in a very exciting and bloody bout. Sanchez was able to outstrike Guida on the feet and landed a few elbows on the ground, but Clay did his thing too by getting takedowns and landing some solid GnP.
Kenny Florian is also coming off a loss and not just any loss, but a loss from a title fight that he so desperately wanted for a very long time. Florian and his camp surprised me and probably many others with the game plan they had come up with for the title fight. Early on Florian was basically just running around the octagon without any attempt to actually fight. In the later rounds this evasiveness changed to pushing BJ against the cage and trying a half assed takedown every ones in a while. When Florian eventually had to fight the champion, he got smoked pretty quickly. A disappointing performance by Kenny or maybe BJ is just THAT good. Florian is a BJJ black belt and while he’s definitely dangerous on the ground, I still think that Kenny’s best qualities are his footwork, elbows and roundhouse kicks.
Prediction: These guys match up pretty well and it’s easy to predict how to fight will play out: Kenny wants to keep it on the feet and pick his shots while Guida will try to get in his face right away, brawl like a tornado and go for the takedowns. There are few things that are harder to predict, which could also affect the outcome of this fight. First one is that Guida has been training with the Yoda of MMA, Greg Jackson, and his team for the first time. Second thing is how Florian performs after getting crushed by BJ. Remember how unmotivated Joe Stevenson looked in the fights following the unsuccessful title fight with BJ? I’ve got a feeling that Florian will take this fight too lightly and at the same time we get to see the best Clay Guida ever. Guida by UD.