(And that’s for asking me how to save money on car insurance! / Pic Props: BRMMA Flickr)
Clay Guida won that fight. I know what the scorecards said; Bruce Buffer announced them to the world loud and clear. I know what everybody and their brother said on Twitter as well. None of that matters, though, because I know what I saw. Friday night in Atlantic City, Guida defeated Gray Maynard. In what parallel universe can you throw nearly a hundred more strikes than your opponent, he spends the evening swinging at ghosts, and they declare him the winner? On the mean streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, if you have all but one of your fourteen takedowns stuffed, that does not make you a winner. That makes…not a winner.
Since when do we penalize fighters for not wanting to get smashed in the face? Guida willingly let himself be locked in a cage with “The Bully” for a total of twenty-five minutes. And yet somehow Maynard still wasn’t satisfied, saying at the post-fight press conference, “You can’t just go to the end of the cage and then back to the other end and back to the other end the whole time. You’ve got to give me a chance, too.”
“You’ve got to give me a chance, too?” Sorry, I thought Maynard was a professional fighter. I thought he was above the “If Johnny can’t hit off the pitcher, we’ll just bring out the tee” mentality. First, you don’t like his hair and now you don’t like the way he dances? If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were looking for a date to the prom. You had your chance and you blew it. Were you really expecting Clay to just stand in front of you like the striking dummies at the gym?
While many thought the actions of “The Carpenter” were egregious enough to warrant a PRIDE yellow card or even a point-deduction, let me point out that I didn’t see “The Bully” give much chase in an attempt to get his hands on Guida and implement his gameplan. It seemed rather, that Maynard was more content to just sit back and complain, flip the bird, cuss at Guida a little — something that in and of itself warranted a point deduction according to the Unified Rules of MMA — and then just sit back some more. Don’t even get me started on Maynard’s repeated hair-pulling. (Another point-deduction right there, if you’re keeping score.)
You see, gentlemen, what we witnessed at UFC on FX 4 was the epitome of Octagon control. In fact, Guida went above and beyond the norm, dominating not only the sponsor sticker in the center, but every square inch of the canvas. Additionally, Guida stuffed thirteen takedowns to keep the fight standing — a prime example of a fighter dictating the pace and location of a fight. Fighters must rely on judges being aware of this, and can only hope the imbeciles sitting cageside are able to recognize it when they see it and score the rounds accordingly. It’s not the first time the wrong fighter had his hand raised, and if life as an MMA fan has taught me anything over the past decade, it won’t be the last.
Clay Guida may not have been willing to become a punching bag for his opponent, nor should he have been. He was also not willing to go balls to the wall trying to take his opponent’s head off or put him to sleep on the mat, with a title shot potentially on the line. In a situation when most out-think the room, the Geico Caveman lookalike followed this popular maxim: Keep It Simple Stupid. Close the distance, get off a few clean shots, and get back out of range so he can’t counter. Simple and effective, no? The last time we saw this gameplan implemented, Carlos Condit won a title belt.
Clay Guida beat Gray Maynard, plain and simple. Guida’s footwork and effective defense kept Maynard guessing at best, punching at phantoms at worst. From bell to bell and post to post, the Greg Jackson product literally danced his way to victory. I know, because I saw it. What fight were you watching?