UFC 107 is just around the corner and with the lightweight title up for grabs between BJ Penn and Diego Sanchez, it is easy to see why Florian vs. Guida is not getting the attention it deserves.
This bout features two of the best that the UFC lightweight division has to offer and, considering whom the fighters are, this bout is almost a lock for fight of the night.
Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (25-10)
If you could use only one word to describe Clay Guida it would be relentless. Guida is the definition of high energy and he uses that incredible pace that he sets to wear down his opponents. Perhaps he is not the most skilled competitor in the stacked UFC lightweight division, but what he lacks in skill, he more than makes up for in endurance and heart.
Key One–Stay Active
It is obvious that Florian is technically superior to Guida in just about every aspect of the fight except for wrestling. Guida’s biggest weapon will be more than just his pace and endurance; it will be his ability to constantly be active.
Force Florian to play defense for the entire fight. Do not let up and pressure him as much as humanly possible. Stay on the offensive and overwhelm Florian.
Guida is the superior wrestler, no question, but it will be important to use that wrestling advantage wisely. Florian has vicious elbows and is a BJJ black belt so getting the takedown and ending up in Florian’s full guard may not be the ideal situation.
Guida needs to use his wrestling to dictate where the fight takes place. Use it to keep Florian off balance. Guida needs to remain cautious on the ground; the more time he spends in Florian’s guard, the more likely it will be that he gets caught.
Key Three—Will To Win
It may seem a little silly to say, but Guida is going to have to will his way to a victory. Florian is a great all-around fighter, but it’s not always the best who wins. Many times the victor is the fighter who refuses to lose.
Guida is incredibly tough and always exciting, but now is the time for him to bring it to the next level. A victory over an opponent like Florian and his name will begin to appear in title talks. It is time for Guida to cash in all that hard work and sacrifice and rip a victory from the hands of Kenny Florian.
Kenny “Kenflo” Florian (11-4)
Kenny Florian has, possibly, the worst nickname in all of MMA, but nicknames don’t make fighters great; talent and drive do. Florian has gone from being a reality show contestant to becoming one of the best lightweight fighters in the world during his time in the UFC. Having fought for the title and come up short twice now, Florian is hungrier than ever.
Key One—Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
For Florian to be victorious it will be important for him to return to his roots and utilize his BJJ. Considering that Guida’s biggest offensive weapons are his takedown and ground and pound, Florian will have many opportunities to work for submissions.
As long as Florian can maintain full guard and frustrate Guida he will force Guida to take chances. If and when Guida makes a mistake it will be up to Kenflow to exploit it. The longer that Guida stays in the fight the better his chances of winning become.
Sure, Guida has had more than double the professional fights Florian has, but Florian has faced, far and away, the stiffer competition. Florian has gone toe-to-toe with the best in the world and he truly understands what it takes to compete at that highest level.
There is nothing that Guida does that Florian has not only faced but overcome. Florians’ experience against stiffer competition will help to keep him focused and on track while dealing with the frenetic pace Guida will look to maintain.
As far as technical striking is concerned, Kenny Florian is far superior to Clay Guida, but his biggest weapon in this fight will be his razor sharp elbows. Every time Florian gets taken down, it is critical that he is the one doling out the punishment.
All of the time Florian has dedicated to becoming a great Muay Thai striker will play a key role in this fight. The more damage that Florian can dish out from the bottom, the less Guida will want to push for the takedown.
This will be an exciting, hard fought battle with plenty of back and forth action, but, in the end, it is difficult to see any real advantage for Guida. He is tough and gritty, but that will only get you so far against a finisher like Florian.
Winner: Kenny Florian via third round submission.