UFC Fight Night 39: What We Learned from Clay Guida vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2014

Jan 26, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Clay Guida reacts after defeating Hatsu Hioki (not pictured) during UFC on FOX 6 at the United Center.  Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Clay Guida, ranked No. 9 in the featherweight division, defeated No. 12-ranked Tatsuya Kawajiri by unanimous decision on Friday at UFC Fight Night 39.

Guida was able to outpace and grind on Kawajiri for all three rounds.

The Japanese fighter was competitive in the fight, but Guida simply had the answers. Kawajiri forced Guida to be on his toes with constant threats in the submission department. The bout featured numerous fun scrambles.

In the end, Guida was too much for Kawajiri on Friday. It was a much-needed victory for "The Carpenter."


What We'll Remember About This Fight

The first round.

It was incredibly fun and filled with action. Guida put forth a more vintage performance with a lot of energy. He even dropped Kawajiri with a vicious punch.

Kawajiri was not finished, though, and he tried to get back in the fight with submission attempts. The two got involved in many scrambles.

After the first frame, the fight never regained the fun of the initial round. Instead, Guida did what he does best. That is why we will ultimately forget about the final 10 minutes and remember the action of the first five minutes.


Aug 31, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA;   Clay Guida gets ready for his fight during the UFC-164 bout at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

What We Learned About Clay Guida

He's back in form.

Guida recaptured some of his past magic with a stellar performance for 15 minutes. He was full of energy and action. While he resorted to some of his classic grinding, he was not bounding around and failing to throw strikes.

He returned to what made him a lightweight contender, and his skill set should make him an interesting featherweight to watch moving forward.


What We Learned About Tatsuya Kawajiri

He will not be a contender in the UFC.

Kawajiri looked slow and, quite frankly, old in this fight. That will not get it done in the UFC's featherweight division.

Guida took him down and outpaced him. The younger featherweights will be able to do the same against Kawajiri. It is a deep division with a lot of quick wrestlers, and he did not show the ability to compete against the cream of the crop.

With that said, he is still valuable for the UFC and the division. His name value will still be strong in the Asian markets, and he can be a gatekeeper for future 145-pound contenders.


What's Next for Clay Guida

Guida called out Conor McGregor, and that fight makes a lot of sense.

McGregor is sidelined with an injury, but since Guida just fought, he can wait until the Irishman is set to return.

It would be a very good featherweight clash, with the winner being one win away from a title shot.

Champion Jose Aldo needs new names to challenge him, and this fight would set the winner up for just that opportunity.


What's Next for Tatsuya Kawajiri

The UFC could put any potential contender in the division against Kawajiri.

Matchmakers would have to identify whom they think is ready for the jump into Top 15 competition. Once they identify that fighter, they can sign the bout for a fight card in Asia. Kawajiri would bolster the hype of the card and test his opponent.

His relevance in the division took a big hit with this loss, so it is time to try and build a future contender off his name.