Gray Maynard (10-1-1, 1 NC, 8-1-1, 1 NC, UFC) vs. Clay Guida (29-12, 9-6 UFC)
Long bouts have often been the norm for these UFC veterans, as both Guida and Maynard have hovered just below 15 minutes per fight during their careers. An extended battle appears likely here, as well, especially since the matchup features a pair of lightweights who often rely on a stout wrestling base to succeed.
Though Maynard has more power in his hands than Guida, a knockout victory by Maynard seems highly unlikely. Guida has proven to be ultra-durable over the years — he survived a first-round swarm from Henderson in his last outing — and has never been knocked out in 41 professional fights. Guida is most susceptible to a strong submission game, which is not a forte of Maynard’s. Even so, Guida’s jiu-jitsu has improved by leaps and bounds since joining forces with Jacksons MMA Camp
Guida will have to be on alert early because Maynard can hurt him with his left hook or right uppercut. While not as technically skilled on the feet as, Guida’s seemingly bottomless gas tank figures to test his opponent as the fight enters the later stages.
The striking of Guida relies on awkward movement and quick punches; the Jackson’s MMA product is aware of his limitations on the feet and does not usually take unnecessary risks. Meanwhile, Maynard’s tendency to throw looping strikes leaves him open to be countered. If Guida can avoid the left hook and follow up with combinations, it will set up his shot nicely. On its own, a takedown is not likely to succeed against the solid defense and physical strength of Maynard.
Conversely, Guida’s relentless pace and constant motion figure to cause some problems for Maynard, who tends to be conservative in top position. While Maynard is a master at landing controlled ground-and-pound and maintaining posture, Guida will be extremely difficult to keep down, and he usually gets the best of scrambles and transitions. In a back-and-forth battle on the canvas, it is Guida who is more likely to pull off a submission.
There is a decent chance that takedowns will be limited given the solid wrestling of both competitors. It then comes down to who can wear down whom in clinches. Guida should look to be the initiator and make Maynard fight with his back against the fence.
The Pick: Maynard will start strong, landing the more significant strikes and controlling the action in tie-ups. Guida will not be going anywhere, however, and as the bout proceeds to the championship rounds, his unique rhythm and pace will wear down his adversary. This bout could swing on one key moment: a takedown, a solid combination, a reversal or submission attempt. A flurry of energy down the stretch gives Guida what he needs to earn a split decision and the over in the 2.5 rounds.