Clay Guida tried to game plan his way around Gray Maynard. It did not work.
Bewildered and frustrated by Guida’s relentless movement and erratic gyrations, Maynard overcame his emotions to defeat “The Carpenter” by split decision in the UFC on FX 4 headliner on Friday at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. All three judges scored the five-round bout 48-47, two of them siding with Maynard (11-1-1, 9-1-1 UFC), who won for the first time since August 2010.
Afterward, the man they call “The Bully” did not mince words.
“I thought Guida was coming to fight. I came to fight. I wanted to get bloody and have fun. It was a five-round fight. I wanted to prove to people that I could go a hard five,” Maynard said. “I thought Guida was going to come here to do it. He’s a tough kid. He came here with a little game plan, whatever it was. I thought I won that fight, fair and square.”
Guida bobbed and weaved, occasionally lunging in with punches, for much of the bizarre 25-minute encounter. By the time round four rolled around, Maynard’s frustrations boiled over. He stood in front of Guida, hands at his side, daring him to throw punches. Guida obliged and then shot in for an ill-advised takedown. He was met by a strong Maynard sprawl and subsequent guillotine choke that nearly finished him.
“I wanted to start doing that in the first round -- drop my hands and, you know, let’s fight,” Maynard said. “I wanted to be respectful, but that stuff got old.”
Guida (29-13, 9-7 UFC) delivered a sneaky head kick 90 seconds into round five, only to resume his dance around the cage. At one point, referee Dan Miragliotta halted the match to admonish him for an unwillingness to engage. Maynard capitalized on the restart, as he bullied Guida into the clinch along the cage and landed knees and punches to the body and head. The crowd, once firmly in Guida’s corner, had turned the other direction by the time it was over.
In the aftermath, Maynard fixed his sights on rival Frankie Edgar, who will challenge Benson Henderson for the lightweight championship at UFC 150 in August. Maynard and Edgar have fought on three previous occasions.
“Let’s go for a top contender. I want that belt back. I want to fight Edgar. I know Jersey doesn’t want to hear that, but I think there should be a fourth fight,” Maynard said. “It’s going to be a fun fight. Let [Edgar] take care of business with Benson, but I want that Edgar fight and I want the belt.”
Stout Outduels Fisher in Rubber Match
Takedowns, excellent work to the body and a granite chin carried Sam Stout to a unanimous verdict over Spencer Fisher in the lightweight co-main event. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Stout (18-7-1, 7-6 UFC), who took the rubber match in his memorable trilogy with “The King.”
Fisher (24-9, 9-8 UFC) stepped out as the aggressor, as he peppered Stout with perfectly timed combinations throughout the first round. Late in the frame, however, the Canadian kickboxer delivered the first of his takedowns. It was a sign of what was to come. Stout struck for another takedown in the second round and two more in the third, exposing a gaping hole in Fisher’s defenses. With the striking at a virtual standstill, wrestling provided Stout with the edge he needed.
The 36-year-old Fisher has lost five of his last six fights.
Ebersole Outpoints Waldburger, Streak Reaches 11
Brian Ebersole survived a harrowing first round to defeat Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt T.J. Waldburger via unanimous decision in a featured welterweight matchup. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Ebersole (50-14-1, 4-0 UFC), who has rattled off 11 consecutive victories.
This one was far from easy. Waldburger (15-7, 3-2 UFC) floored the Thailand-based American with a short counter left hand inside the first half minute of the bout and later threatened to finish him with a nifty brabo choke. The experienced Ebersole weathered the sequence, moved on to round two and went to work.
Over the final 10 minutes, he grounded Waldburger and punished the Texan with a series of shoulder strikes, punches, elbows and hammerfists from top position. The 24-year-old Waldburger tried to counter with submissions, only to be denied at every turn. Ebersole now owns a 16-5-1 mark in fights that go the distance.
Swanson Left Hook Finishes Pearson
Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative Cub Swanson put away “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 9 winner Ross Pearson with a magnificent counter left hook and follow-up ground strikes in a featherweight showcase. Pearson (13-6, 5-3 UFC) met his end 4:14 into round two.
Swanson’s speed and aggression proved the difference in the bout, as he routinely beat the Brit to the punch. Pearson moved into top position twice on the ground but failed to capitalize fully on the advantage, allowing the Californian to escape to his feet.
Late in the second round, Swanson fired a grazing front kick to Pearson’s head. The Alliance MMA export pressed forward, pushing Swanson towards the cage. He ate a pair of straight right hands for his troubles. Swanson (17-5, 2-1 UFC) was still backpedaling when he uncorked the left hook with stunning power and precision. A dazed Pearson crashed into the cage, and, in an instant, it was over.
“I was hitting him with a lot of shots, and he didn’t show that he was getting hurt at all,” Swanson said. “I’m really good at that exiting left hook. I saw him go for a knee or something, and he dropped both his hands. I was circling that way and hit him right on the button. He fell backwards, and it kind of confused me. I tried to jump on him, but it was already over.”
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