By Kelsey Mowatt
After losing back-to-back bouts to Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian to close out his 2009 campaign, some may have concluded at that juncture that Clay Guida’s role in the UFC lightweight division had shifted from title contender to gate keeper. Well, after scoring a unanimous decision Saturday night over the last reigning WEC lightweight champion in Anthony Pettis, Guida is once again knocking on the title shot door. Speaking after the bout, which extended Guida’s winning streak to four, “The Carpenter” didn’t hesitate to share what he hopes comes next.
“I want that belt,” said Guida, who ended up facing Pettis after the lightweight’s title shot was postponed due to the January 1st draw between reigning champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. “I want the next guy.”
Last night’s TUF 13 Finale tilt went down as many likely expected, as Guida turned to his wrestling rather than risk any prolonged exchanges with one of the lightweight division’s most dynamic strikers. The 29 year-old-veteran effectively timed the vast majority of his takedowns and was able to control the action from above for the UD win.
“We knew grappling was going to be the key,” said Guida in the post fight press conference. “We know he’s a very long, rangy striker, very creative, one of the most imaginative strikers that I’ve seen in my weight division. I struggled with Kenny Florian so I didn’t want to make that same mistake. We caught him in the exchanges when his hands were up and he was throwing punches I was shooting, tying not to get kneed in the face.”
“We saw him fight Shane Roller and Roller was kind of fighting his game plan; Ben Henderson was fighting his game plan,” Guida noted afterwards in an interview. “We got him in the exchanges...when he was throwing punches we hit that double leg. That was kind of our bread and butter in this fight.”
Although Guida was able to take Pettis down on a consistent basis, the resilient veteran’s ground-and-pound game never really materialized, as his 24 year-old-opponent kept him on the defensive with an extremely active guard.
“He’s got the most tricky guard I’ve ever fought,” Guida said. “I must have defended ten, twelve triangles, armbars and he hit me lights out a couple times from the bottom; ain’t going to lie to you. He kicked me in the back of the head, punched me, elbowed me; tough as nails. Like I said, he’s got a real tricky guard; he’s a super talented kid.”
With the win, Guida not only improved his record to 29-11, but he assured that his name will remain in the title shot conversation for the coming months.