Gray Maynard and Clay Guida were both coming off loses heading into the UFC on FX 4 main event in Atlantic City, N.J., on Friday. They both wanted to remain contenders in the UFC lightweight division. That is usually a recipe for an exciting match-up. It played out more like a dog chasing his tail for five rounds.
Guida bobbed, weaved, bounced, and used constant movement like only he can to keep Maynard guessing in the opening round.
Maynard stalked Guida in the second stanza, turning up the pressure. He switched his stance to southpaw and began to cut off angles, but couldn’t corner Guida.
Maynard came out more aggressive in the third round. Guida continued to bounce and move on the outside. They both attempted takedowns in the round, to no avail. Frustration began to show for Maynard. He chased Guida, winging punches. Through three rounds, Maynard was having difficulty finding his timing and range, or maybe it simply looked that way because Guida wasn’t engaging.
Maynard saw success in the fourth round. He got to the clinch position and landed shots, but his frustration continued to mount. Maynard put his hands down at one point, eating a punch in the process, taunting Guida with expletives. Guida dropped down for a takedown and Maynard applied a guillotine choke, but Guida fended it off.
Heading into the final round, it was hard to say who was winning the fight.
The best exchange of the night came in the opening minutes of the last round. Guida landed a high kick and a combination that briefly stunned Maynard. Maynard immediately answered with a right hand and continued to press forward while Guida moved away.
At one point, referee Dan Miragliotta warned Guida for failing to engage.
At the end of the night, the judges scored the fight for Maynard by split decision.
Maynard’s frustration was evident in his post-fight interview.
“I thought Guida came to fight,” he commented. “I thought I won the fight, but I guess it was a split decision.”
When asked about dropping his hands in the fourth round and taunting Guida, Maynard said, “I wanted to start doing that in the first round, but he didn’t want to do it. You know, let’s fight. I wanted to be respectful, but that stuff got old.”
Maynard called for a bout with a top contender following the win.
“I want a top contender,” he said. “I want to fight (Frankie) Edgar. I know New Jersey doesn’t want to hear that. I think there should be a fourth fight.”