Maynard beats Guida in split decision of lightweight bout in UFC's return to Atlantic City
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Clay Guida told everyone his game plan for Gray Maynard two days before the fight, and he stuck to it.
But it didn't get him a victory Friday. Maynard won a five-round split decision in the main event of UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida at Revel Atlantic City in New Jersey.
Guida (29-13 MMA, 9-7 UFC) said Wednesday his game plan was to make sure he wasn't there when Maynard (11-1-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC) threw his power punches.
And, for the most part, he wasn't there.
But his method to make sure Maynard's biggest punches didn't find a home kept the two-time lightweight title challenger frustrated for 25 minutes.
"I thought Guida was coming to fight," said Maynard. "I wanted to get bloody — it was a five-round fight. I wanted to prove to people I could go all five rounds.
"He's a tough kid — he came with a little game plan, whatever it was."
Guida was a clear crowd favourite as the fight started, something not new to him. But there may have been added support thanks to a mild controversy that surfaced a week before the fight when it was reported Maynard's camp filed a complaint with the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board about Guida's trademark long hair.
For the first time in his career, Guida braided his hair back for a fight — so tensions may already have been high even before the fight.
But his strategy to backpedal and quickly move away from Maynard's offence had the crowd turning on him by the end of the fight.
After two rounds, a clearly frustrated Maynard began gesturing to Guida — and even twice managed a two-handed obscene gesture in response to his opponent's plan of attack, which was more of a plan to not get attacked.
"I thought we stuck to our game plan," Guida said. "The guy hits like a Mack truck and I didn't want to be there for it. I felt good about it. We'll get him next time."
Maynard won with scores of 48-47 on two judges' scorecards; a third gave Guida the fight by the same margin.
"It took me two rounds just to know, 'I think this guy's going to do this the whole fight,'" Maynard said.
Maynard, who couldn't win the UFC lightweight title in two cracks at then-champion Frankie Edgar in 2011, said he wants Edgar to beat new champ Benson Henderson in their August rematch — and then get another shot at him.
If that were to happen, it would be the fourth fight between the two.
"Let's go for a top contender (next)," Maynard said. "I want that belt. I want to fight Edgar. I think there should be a fourth fight. He can take care of business with Benson, and then I want that belt."
In the co-main event, Sam Stout, from London, Ont., completed his trilogy with Spencer Fisher, picking up a unanimous decision sweep of the judges' scorecards.
To open the main card, featherweight underdog Cub Swanson upset Ross Pearson, the Season 9 winner of "The Ultimate Fighter," with a second-round TKO.
In action on the preliminary card, Ricardo Lamas upset featherweight title hopeful Hatsu Hioki by unanimous decision. Hioki, from Japan, was nearly a 2-to-1 favourite in the fight and earlier this year had eschewed a shot at champion Jose Aldo in favour of taking one more fight.
Lamas may have made him regret the decision.
New Jersey resident Dan Miller had a successful welterweight debut, snapping a two-fight skid at middleweight with a third-round submission win over Ricardo Funch.
Miller always fights with emotion behind him thanks to daily struggles of his three-year-old son, who has autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease. His young daughter died more than three years ago.
"This was a very important fight for me," Miller said. "I knew I had to win this to stay in the UFC, and everyone knows the situation with my kid being so sick.
"I tried not to think about the pressure I was under and just see this as a fight, but it was really, really hard to do that."
Matt Brown, not two years after being mired in a three-fight skid, won his third straight with a second-round TKO victory over Luis Ramos.
All three of his wins have come in 2012, making him one of the UFC's busiest fighters. Brown took the fight with Ramos on less than a month's notice, replacing an injured Matthew Riddle.