Clay Guida Dances to Infamy
June 26, 2012 by Brad Oremland • Print Story •
Five Quick Hits
* Last week, Fëdor Emelianenko knocked out former UFC Heavyweight Champion Pedro Rizzo in 84 seconds, then announced his retirement. It's a shame we seldom got to see Fëdor test himself against the best in recent years, but he wrote a decisive final chapter for his legendary career.
* Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier is contractually obligated for another fight on Showtime. Former UFC title-holder Tim Sylvia, who has won seven of his last eight fights, has been suggested as an opponent. To the extent that any non-UFC fight works for Cormier, Sylvia makes sense.
* In the third round of Friday night's main event, FightMetric credited Clay Guida with landing four punches. Unbelievably, some people scored the round for Guida.
* With so many fighters getting TRT exemptions, I have a hard time getting fired up about guys like Feijao taking it without an exemption.
* I have a really hard time getting fired up about Nick Diaz smoking weed. It's tough to take the NSAC seriously.
Maynard vs. Guida
I am amazed that anyone thinks
Kalib Starnes Clay Guida won Friday's "fight" against Gray Maynard. I know many fans were raving about Guida's gameplan, about his footwork and elusiveness. But the event on Friday night was a fight, and Guida wasn't striking or grappling; he was just running around.
Not getting hit is a great part of a smart gameplan. Lyoto Machida exemplifies that style, and he's one of my favorite fighters. But Machida engages: he darts in and out, landing powerful strikes and moving out of range before his opponent knows what happened. Guida's gameplan didn't include any engagement. He continually moved out of range before his opponent could connect, and did so very effectively, but he was so busy staying out of range that he never generated any offense of his own.
Legions of Guida fans — and I'm amazed they still exist after Friday night — are comparing Maynard vs. Guida to Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz, which to me shows a shocking misunderstanding of mixed martial arts. Condit used movement effectively to avoid standing toe-to-toe with a dangerous opponent who prefers that style, but he was still landing strikes, dozens more than Guida landed. Guida's strategy was most comparable to Kalib Starnes against Nate Quarry, or Houston Alexander vs. Kimbo Slice and Anderson Silva in the later rounds of his fight against Demian Maia.
MMA bouts are scored on effective striking, grappling, aggression, and cage control. Maynard outstruck Guida, out-grappled him, and was in a different stratosphere of aggression. I suppose you could argue that Guida dictated cage control, but that also depends on how you interpret the term: it usually refers to grappling results like top position or pinning your opponent against the fence. Maynard had the fight's only takedown and its only submission attempt, and fight stats showed him ahead in strikes landed. He was far ahead in power shots. The only significant strike Guida landed all fight came when Maynard dropped his hands and literally let Guida punch him in the face, plus Maynard almost immediately turned it into a dangerous choke. I scored the fight 49-46 Maynard.
June 2012 UFC Rankings
The rankings below are exclusively for the UFC, so you won't see names like Gilbert Melendez or Pat Curran on these lists.
Heavyweight (206-265 lbs)
1. Junior Dos Santos
2. Cain Velasquez
3. Alistair Overeem
4. Fabricio Werdum
5. Frank Mir
6. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
7. Roy Nelson
8. Travis Browne
9. Mark Hunt
10. Stefan Struve
Make it Happen: Mir vs. Hunt
Let's see if Mir's striking has improved as much as he thinks, and whether Hunt can keep a fight standing against someone who should be desperate to get it to the ground. Alternatively, either Mir or Hunt could be a logical next opponent for Fabricio Werdum.
Thank You, UFC, For: Not cutting Overeem
Okay, we all know Ubereem didn't add 50 pounds of muscle by eating horsemeat. But he's an exciting fighter, and the sport's more fun with him in it. Here's hoping he gets cleared to fight in December.
Light Heavyweight (186-205)
1. Jon Jones
t2. Rashad Evans
t2. Dan Henderson
t2. Lyoto Machida
t2. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
6. Alexander Gustafsson
7. Phil Davis
8. Ryan Bader
9. Forrest Griffin
10. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
Absolutely nothing has happened at the top of this division in the last two months. I explained the four-way tie for second in April.
Make it Happen: Evans vs. Gustafsson
The top 10 in this weight class are so far above the rest of the division, it's tough to do any match-making that doesn't involve rematches. Good fighters like Mark Muñoz, Tim Boetsch, Rich Franklin, and Wanderlei Silva have all abandoned 205 for middleweight, leaving the stable so empty that Rua has a main-event fight against Brandon Vera next month. Most of the top 10 are spoken for, other than these two. If The Mauler can beat up Evans, he'll prove he's ready for a shot at Jon Jones and the belt. Besides, who else is Rashad going to fight? Please don't say a rematch with Rampage.
Thank You, UFC, For: Machida vs. Bader
Machida faces a powerful wrestler, and Bader gets a chance to prove he can hang with the top of the division.
1. Anderson Silva
2. Chael Sonnen
3. Michael Bisping
4. Vitor Belfort
5. Yushin Okami
6. Hector Lombard
7. Alan Belcher
8. Brian Stann
9. Mark Muñoz
10. Rich Franklin
Make it Happen: Belcher vs. Franklin
With Franklin moving back to 185, the UFC's middleweight division is stacked with talent. Tim Boetsch, Ed Herman, Rousimar Palhares, Jake Shields, and Chris Weidman all could argue that they should be considered top-10. Lombard is likely to get a title shot if he beats Boetsch, so the UFC can effectively set up a four-man tournament to determine the next contender. Belcher vs. Franklin would be a nice complement to Muñoz/Weidman, and/or whatever happens with Bisping, Belfort, and Stann. In any case, Franklin deserves a path back to the title, and this is a logical step in that direction.
Thank You, UFC, For: Lombard vs. Boetsch
Lombard's original opponent (Stann) dropped out of their fight with an injury, and Boetsch's original opponent (Bisping) did the same. This is sensible match-making at a time when it seems like many elite fighters are having trouble staying healthy.
1. Georges St-Pierre
2. Carlos Condit
3. Johny Hendricks
4. Jon Fitch
5. Martin Kampmann
6. Jake Ellenberger
7. Rory MacDonald
8. Josh Koscheck
9. Diego Sanchez
10. Erick Silva
Nick Diaz is obviously a top-level welterweight, but given his claim to be retired and his absurdly long suspension for marijuana metabolites, he's not listed right now.
Make it Happen: Koscheck vs. Sanchez
Come on, we all want to see a rematch.
Thank You, UFC, For: Hendricks vs. Kampmann
I think it's really pathetic that Carlos Condit is ducking all challengers until St-Pierre's knee heals. I've liked Condit since the WEC days, but this is unacceptable. I'll never cheer for him again (unless he fights Koscheck). Hendricks and Kampmann both have good arguments for a shot at the interim title, and this is making the best of a bad situation. The matchup is expected for UFC 154 in November, and hopefully that holds up. Whoever ends up as the number one contender after GSP/Condit certainly will have earned it.
1. Ben Henderson
2. Frankie Edgar
3. Gray Maynard
4. Anthony Pettis
5. Nate Diaz
6. Jim Miller
7. Donald Cerrone
8. Evan Dunham
9. Clay Guida
10. Joe Lauzon
Make it Happen: Miller vs. Dunham
Also, Maynard vs. Cerrone.
Thank You, UFC, For: Lauzon vs. Terry Etim
Two high-level fighters who won't just dance around for half an hour.
1. Jose Aldo
2. Chan Sung Jung
3. Erik Koch
4. Chad Mendes
5. Dustin Poirier
6. Robert Peralta
7. Dennis Siver
8. Diego Nunes
9. Darren Elkins
10. Hatsu Hioki
Make it Happen: another fight in Japan for Hioki
Count me among the MMA fans who believe West-to-East travel is a major reason Japanese superstars have underachieved in the UFC. Hioki looked like a contender against Bart Palaszewski in Japan, and a nobody against Ricardo Lamas and George Roop in the U.S.
Thank You, UFC, For: Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie
It has always appeared that Mendes has nothing but takedowns and top control. What will he do when faced with the nastiest guillotine in MMA?
1. Dominick Cruz
2. Urijah Faber
3. Renan "Barão" Pegado
4. Brian Bowles
5. Michael McDonald
6. Miguel Torres
7. Eddie Wineland
8. Brad Pickett
9. Scott Jorgensen
10. Ivan Menjivar
Make it Happen: McDonald vs. winner of Menjivar/Mike Easton
Top contender's match. Bowles and Torres are coming off losses, Wineland's lost two of his last three, and Pickett already has another fight lined up. The winner of Menjivar/Easton will be a legit opponent for McDonald, albeit as a heavy underdog.
Thank You, UFC, For: Faber vs. Barão
There were rumors and shadows about the interim title contender being Menjivar, McDonald, or Pickett. Barão was the right choice.
I'm not ranking this division until it has more fighters, but I expect Joseph Benavidez to become the first UFC flyweight champion.
UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen
Anderson Silva is a huge favorite, about -265 at most books. I know he's a long-reigning champion with a consistent record of success, but he lost 22 of 23 minutes in his first fight against Sonnen, and he's 37 now. Unless he gets a first-round knockout, I don't think Anderson is likely to win, and the odds on Sonnen (+200 or better) are very tempting.
These are two of the most polarizing figures in MMA. Some people love Anderson Silva for his highlight-reel knockouts and his many titles defenses. Others loathe him for his performances against Thales Leites and Demian Maia, events in which he disrespected both his opponents and the fans. Some fight fans love Chael Sonnen's bombastic, over-the-top, pro wrestling heel routine. Others can't get past his PED suspension, felony fraud conviction, and racist and xenophobic remarks about Brazilians.
In any case, it's an interesting matchup, and it's hard to know what to expect. The rest of the card is fine, but the main event alone makes it the most anticipated UFC event of 2012.
Insane but lucrative parlay: Chael Sonnen + Cody McKenzie + Demian Maia
Sonnen is undervalued (about +225), and although odds haven't been posted yet on McKenzie vs. Chad Mendes, Cody will be a substantial underdog, probably better than +300. He's a tough style matchup for Mendes, though, and probably is worth a small gamble at the odds you'll get. Maia is a slight underdog (about +120) against Dong Hyun Kim, but Maia has improved his striking, and presumably remains a terrifying grappling adversary. I see the fight more as a pick 'em.
This parlay is a lottery ticket. It probably won't pay off, but if it does, you'll get a windfall. If McKenzie comes in around +350 — and he easily could be closer to +400 or +500 — a $100 bet would yield around $3,100. Is there a 1-in-31 chance this parlay hits? Oh yeah. If you have some spare money to gamble on a risky parlay, there are some appealing underdogs on this card.