It’s a busy week for the UFC with two cards over the next two nights. Tonight on ESPN we have a huge bout in the lightweight division between former title challenger Gray Maynard and perennial contender Clay Guida. Both men are at the upper end of top 10 lightweights on the planet and due to this we can expect a hell of a fight as both men try to put their names back into contention for a title. UFC on FX 4 takes place at Revel Atlantic City in New Jersey. The event’s main card airs live on ESPN following prelims on UFC.tv and Facebook.
Although this card isn’t stacked with big names it does have some interesting bouts.
The UFC on FX 4 card includes:
MAIN CARD (ESPN)
Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard
Spencer Fisher vs. Sam Stout
Brian Ebersole vs. T.J. Waldburger
Ross Pearson vs. Cub Swanson
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC.tv)
Hatsu Hioki vs. Ricardo Lamas
C.J. Keith vs. Ramsey Nijem
Brock Jardine vs. Rick Story
Joey Gambino vs. Steven Siler
Matt Brown vs. Luis Ramos
Chis Camozzi vs. Nick Catone
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
Ricardo Funch vs. Dan Miller
Dustin Pague vs. Ken Stone
So lets break down the main event and get some picks made.
Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard
The bookies have this one being effectively Gray Maynard‘s to lose. In fairness looking at their respective records you can see why. Maynard’s win column lists a who’s who of the lightweight division and he’s 1-1-1 with Frankie Edgar.
Statistically, Maynard’s advantage is down to his wrestling. He’s able to take down opponents more frequently (55 percent takedowns completed vs. Guida’s 40 percent) and he’s better able to stay on his feet (85 percent of takedowns defended vs. 68 percent for Guida).
Although he may lack the record that Maynard has, Guida does make up for this both in cardio and stand up. Although not the most technically gifted fighter he is extremely busy on the feet and has cardio for days. He’s also got an excellent chin and his recovery from what should have been knock out blows in previous fights is staggering. Interestingly when it comes to strikes; Guida runs is right up there with Maynard in strikes landed and average strikes absorbed per minute, according to FightMetric. He attempts more submissions than Maynard. And he’s a history of being a bonus bounty hunter too. He’s won six “Fight of the Night” bonuses and two “Submission of the Night” awards.
As I said Guida is a durable guy and his unorthodox style in the octagon has lead to him only being finished twice in his career courtesy of Roger Huerta and Kenny Florian.
Both men come off a loss in their last fight. Maynard suffered the first loss of his 13-fight career when Edgar knocked him out in a stunning comeback performance last year. Guida took current champ Henderson the distance and performed well despite going on to lose the decision.
Maynard is the better technical boxer and definitely has a power advantage. A change of camp to AKA is going to assist Maynard in tightening up these skills further. He’s also changed his strength and conditioning programme which should see him avoid the issues he’s had in the past where he’s slowed dramatically as the fight goes on. It’s going to be a busy fight and I think it’s a difficult one to separate them.
Recommendation: It’s a lot closer than the bookies have it currently. Maynard should win but if he does slow down to much Guida could nick the decision. I’d avoid betting on it personally but it’s up to you. Maynard is 1/3 and Guida is as big as 5/2.
Spencer Fisher vs. Sam Stout:
This will be the third time that these two have fought. They’ve both won one of the previous bouts. In the first Stout got the decision in a fight that could have gone either way. In the second bout Fisher cruised to a decision.
Both guys have been involved in some wars in their past and are 4-4 going into the fight taking into account their last eight matches. However if you break down their last five fights Fisher has only won once in his last five, Stout has three wins and two losses.
This is the second fight that Stout has taken since the death of his brother in law and mentor Shawn Tompkins. Fisher is arguably the better grappler but Stout is most definitely the better striker and Fisher’s chin does have question marks over it judging by his last few fights.
Recommendation: Stout for me at 1/3 with Boylesports. He’s the better striker and if he can avoid the takedown he should be victorious.
Brian Ebersole vs. T.J. Waldburger:
This has potential to be a hell of an interesting bout in the welterweight division. It’s a sort of classic age vs. experience fight. The 31-year-old Ebersole has more than three times the pro fights of the 24-year-old Waldburger.
Judging by his performances against Chris Lytle and Dennis Hallman it’s unlikely that the submission-savvy Ebersole is going to get caught in one of Waldburger’s explosive submission holds. Waldburger has shown himself to be adept at catching people out with his submissions but he’s also very aggressive with them which may put him in a bad spot with Ebersole who’s shown great defense and ability to sweep for position. Most notably in the Hallman fight where he went from being in major trouble to dominating before a TKO finish.
With that said Waldburger could catch him if the fight stays standing. Most likely, Ebersole will be looking to put Waldburger on his back and use his vicious ground and pound to do enough to get the fight stopped. Waldburger will need to keep out of range if this stays on the feet or it will be an 11th straight win for Ebersole who’s been mightily impressive since his last minute call up to face Chris Lytle at UFC 127.
Recommendation: Ebersole is rightfully the favourite but I can not ignore 2/1 for Waldburger with Boylesports. I fancy the upset here.
Hatsu Hioki vs. Ricardo Lamas: Although ranked No.2 at 145lbs in the world Hioki has not been that impressive to me. Lamas is a decent fighter and at 7/4 with Boylesports is worth a play.
Matt Brown vs. Luis Ramos: Matt Brown is on a high after derailing they hype train for the Wonderboy Stephen Thompson. Ramos comes off a loss to the mightily impressive Erick Silva. This is going to be a close fight but I think the bookies have underestimated Ramos’ skills and I’ll be backing him at 7/4. Brown has never bet a top line opponent and I think his price is more based on familiarity than skills. Ramos’ odds have collapsed from 7/4 initially to as low as 5/4 in places. He’s still 7/4 with William Hills though if you’re interested.