(Guida’s evolution has been awe-inspiring. Just ten years ago, he was an overweight comedian with no direction in life. / Photo via Getty)
By Santino DeFranco
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing MMA fans that Clay Guida is exciting. He’s known for his energetic entrances, where he bounces up and down like a jackrabbit, lip-syncing to his walkout music, before getting slapped around by his brother prior to entering the cage. Unfortunately, the moment the bell rings that energy doesn’t equate to active, or exciting, fighting, which is a little misleading if you ask me. This Friday, April 11th, Guida takes on Japanese veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri in the UFC’s return to Abu Dhabi at UFC Fight Night 39: Nogueira vs. Nelson, and he’s going to need a lot more than an exciting entrance to escape the cage victorious against his tough foe.
Kawajiri will be making his second UFC appearance and, for some reason, is stuck once again on a Fight Pass card where his name isn’t even on the poster. (Not that he’d want to be associated with this train-wreck.) I’m assuming the promotion is paying him more than their standard entry-level pay, which begs the question, why isn’t the UFC promoting “The Crusher” heavier? Maybe a win against Guida will convince the UFC to finally introduce him to an American audience for his next fight.
To earn the victory, Kawajiri is going to have to keep Guida on the outside, where the American won’t be able to use the cage to slow down the action. The more minutes spent disengaged from any sort of grappling affair — either clinched up against the fence or on the ground — will favor the Japanese fighter. “Crusher” is going to need to circle, and spend some extra energy to fight out of the clinch and away from the cage. But in doing so, he risks overexerting himself and fatiguing those bulbous muscles attached to his small frame, which could be problematic in the later rounds as Kawajiri isn’t particularly known for having iron lungs. Although Guida doesn’t really do much with his famous cardio besides hop around and hug people very tightly, that’s not to say he isn’t capable of pushing the pace if needed — and we rarely see the man sleepy at the end of a fight.