Ben Henderson has won 12 of his last 13 bouts. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Ben Henderson (14-2, 2-0 UFC) vs. Clay Guida (29-11, 9-5 UFC)
The Matchup: With victories over Mark Bocek and Jim Miller upon his arrival in the UFC, Henderson has dispelled the notion that World Extreme Cagefighting’s finest cannot hold their own in the Octagon. Since making Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts his home base, Guida has gone from a mid-level fan favorite to a serious contender at 155 pounds. The winner of this matchup will be on the fast track to a lightweight title matchup with Frankie Edgar, so there is plenty at stake for both men.
Guida’s unique rhythm and movement will be seriously tested against the former WEC champion, as Henderson is strong enough to stuff his takedowns and competent enough on the feet to get the best of exchanges. While many fans were unhappy with the method “The Carpenter” used to dispatch Anthony Pettis at “The Ultimate Fighter 13” Finale, it was a fine bit of strategy that kept Pettis’ flashy array of strikes to a minimum.
The Illinois native’s style will not favor him nearly as much against Henderson, because the MMA Lab representative favors the same rapid pace Guida does. No one can question Guida’s heart and aggression, but in the many transitions and scrambles that are sure to ensue in this bout, Henderson’s athleticism gives him the edge. With his Gumby-like flexibility, Henderson is nearly impossible to submit, as was evident in his first WEC clash with Donald Cerrone.
When Guida shoots for takedowns, he must be careful not to leave his neck exposed, or Henderson will clamp on his dangerous guillotine choke. Working with Greg Jackson has made Guida a much more difficult foe to tap, but Henderson is among the best in the game at wearing down an opponent and taking his back.
Guida is as durable a fighter as there is in the sport today, and that will serve him well in a contest where he will need to use his striking as more than a precursor to getting his opponent to the mat. Henderson is simply too dangerous there for Guida’s usual suffocating pressure to control the bout.
The Pick: Expect a wild, high-energy affair where Guida moves in and out while attempting to score points on the feet. Henderson eventually gets the fight to the mat, where he will control positioning and threaten with submissions throughout. Guida will survive the onslaught, but the judges give the nod to Henderson on points.
Continue Reading » Next Fight: Dustin Poirier vs. Pablo Garza