Sat Jun 04 11:37pm EDT
LAS VEGAS - Clay Guida is a nightmare opponent. And he proved it again Saturday night as he spoiled Anthony Pettis' run to the top by taking a unanimous decision, 30-27 on all cards, in the co-main event of "The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale" at the Palms.
Former WEC champion Pettis (13-2, 0-1 UFC) showed major stones by taking the fight against Guida when he could've waited for a UFC lightweight title shot to come his way. Now the 24-year-old falls back in line as the division waits for Frank Edgar and Gray Maynard to settle things in their third fight, at a date to be determined later this year.
This is easily the biggest win of Guida's career. It was his ninth win in the Octagon, but the story of his career had been falling short in breakthrough fights. Guida lost in the past to Kenny Florian, Roger Huerta and Diego Sanchez. Now he's won four straight and pushed himself into the mix for a title fight qualifier.
"There's a lot of 155er's in the mix right now, but I want that belt. I'm right there with the rest of these guys and I'm coming after it," said Guida.
Guida (29-11, 9-5 UFC) came out bouncing all over the Octagon. Pettis, a dynamic striker, was confused and got a little overanxious. Just 70 seconds in the fight, he had a right kick caught and was taken down. Pettis ran through a variety of submission attempts, but never got back to his feet. That rarely scores with MMA judges, who view the fighter on top as the winner.
Just 40 seconds into the second, Guida scored another big-slam takedown and controlled Pettis for until there was just two minutes left in the round. On the feet, Pettis tried a few spectacular kicks, but nothing landed. Guida scored another takedown with a minute left and moved out to a 2-0 lead.
The final round's pace was frenetic. Guida scored a takedown 40 seconds in. Two and half minutes passed before Pettis got to his feet again. Guida tried another takedown and during the scramble found himself underneath Pettis, who converted it to the mount position and eventually took his back. Pettis flattened out Guida and had one final chance to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Guida did a brilliant job from a terrible position of squirming and shifting so Pettis got too high on his back. Seconds later, Guida slipped out the backdoor. That sealed the victory.
"Pettis is a tough son of a gun. He came at me, but we weathered the storm. We watched some old tape on him and knew to look for his hands dropping, and knew when to shoot in for the takedowns. The gameplan worked out great against him," said Guida.
It's a tough break for Pettis. He was clutch in winning the final WEC lightweight title fight against Ben Henderson back at WEC 53. That was supposed to earn him an automatic shot at the winner of the Edgar-Maynard fight at UFC 125. But that fight ended in a draw and the UFC decided to make Edgar and Maynard fight a third time. Pettis had to wait.
Edgar-Maynard III was scheduled for UFC 130. In early May, Edgar pulled out of the fight and the UFC offered a Pettis a shot to fill in against Maynard. He accepted, but was told less than 24 hours later that Maynard had backed out of the fight with an injury.
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