During last night's finale of Season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter, Clay Guida grounded former WEC champ and Head Kicker Extraordinaire Anthony Pettis into the matt en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Though Pettis looked respectable and may have gotten the better of the striking exchanges, Guida's takedowns, to the surprise of no one, were hard for Showtime to stop, and once on the ground, The Carpenter smothered all submission attempts.
Guida (29-11) has historically been considered a gatekeeper, even something of a lovable loser, in the UFC's lightweight division. Always a fanbase darling, Guida was well known for repeatedly earning Fight of the Night honors in losing performances to top contenders.
But that may now be changing.
After joining Greg Jackson's submission wrestling camp, things have seemed to snap into place for Guida, who is 4-1 since hooking up with Jackson. Jackson's expert eye (especially for all things ground game) have apparently closed a lot of loopholes in The Carpenter's game. And after defeating a highly regarded champion in Pettis, Guida is that much closer to his long-pursued shot at a UFC title.
So was that enough to earn him the winner of Gray Maynard vs. Frankie Edgar III? It got him close, but the answer is probably no. Or, at least a not yet.
One man still stands between Guida and his shot at the belt. His name is Jim Miller.
Guida is riding an impressive four-fight win streak, but Miller has won his last seven. Moreover, Miller's only losses have come against the division's No. 1 and 1a, Edgar and Maynard.
If Miller, like Guida a superb wrestler, can take care of business against Ben Henderson on Aug. 14, Guida should have his title eliminator. Since Maynard vs. Edgar will not happen until fall at the earliest, it looks like Guida will be cooling his heels for a while (at least if he plays it smart). And he deserves it.
We'll see soon enough how the new and improved Guida handles cream-of-the-crop competition.