Issue seven of the UFC On Versus 1 Preview series has fan-favorite workhorse, Clay "The Carpenter" Guida taking on Shannon Gugerty in the night's final preliminary bout. It's the first time the preliminary fights have featured Guida since his fight with Samy Schiavo in 2008.
Guida was originally scheduled to battle it out with Sean Sherk before an undisclosed injury forced the former champion from the card. This is probably why Guida finds himself fighting on the preliminaries as Gugerty has far less recognition as other fighters on the main card.
Even with the small name value of Gugerty, Guida's style and fan base should be enough for a main card slot. But that's another debate for another time.
On to the fight!
Gugerty is going to have a very difficult task ahead of him come March 21. He has shown that he struggles when his opponent is pushing the pace, which is one area where Guida truly shines.
"The Carpenter" rarely slows down in any fight, no matter the opponent. He even has a few fights where he secured the victory based off of his pace alone.
If Gugerty wants to find a comfort zone on his feet, he's going to need a heavy supply of counters to keep Guida from constantly pressing the action.
In the past, Gugerty has shown very effective combinations if he's in his rhythm. He's not the greatest striker, but still has a nice mix of muay thai and kickboxing. If he can knock Guida's energy down a level, Gugerty has the skills to out-point his opponent on the feet.
However, knocking Guida's pace down a level is easier said than done. Many great fighters have tried, and while some were victorious in the fight, all failed in their attempts to slow down Guida.
He has too much experience against top ten lightweights for Gugerty to be the one who wears him down. Besides, Guida won't test the stand-up waters all that long, unlike in his fight with Kenny Florian.
Guida even said it himself: "I just need to get back the old Clay—getting them to the ground, going from my strikes to putting them on their back and making them panic in there."
If Gugerty's sprawl is seriously improved, he might be able to fend off Guida for a moment. However, Guida's non-stop pace won't give Gugerty much room to work with in the clinch.
Gugerty has the grappling experience to reverse the roles, but he's never faced an opponent who leaves very little grappling openings. If he does find himself looking to takedown Guida, he may find himself wasting much-needed energy, as Guida has proven to be tough to take down as of late.
An opening will likely glimmer briefly after Guida works Gugerty's body with knees and punches. Guida's wrestling instinct will take over and drag Gugerty to the ground, where the fight will become a human combat form of chess.
Gugerty's jiu jitsu is dangerous, as he holds a brown belt in the art. If Guida is too aggressive, he could find himself in a submission hold.
Guida's conditioning and strength has helped him from submissions in the past, making him one of the most difficult lightweights to tap out. But walking these thin lines against Gugerty is hazardous.
Then again, this style of fight won't be anything new for Guida. Expect him to wear down Gugerty through two rounds and finish him with his superior ground strikes in the third.
Range striking: Gugerty
Takedown defense: Guida
Clinch striking: Guida
Submission defense: Guida
Ground striking: Guida
UFC On Versus 1 Official Picks
Guida over Gugerty
Keep an eye out for coverage on Alessio Sakara vs. James Irvin in the next couple of days.