Next on our list of main card fights to break down is the co-main event, a lightweight matchup between TUF 6 winner Mac Danzig and a lightweight who is always on the cusp of a title shot, Clay Guida. These two will face off against one another tomorrow night in what will undoubtedly be Danzig’s toughest fight to date in the UFC.
Danzig was a known commodity in the MMA world before going on TUF and now he’s a household name. With a strong grappling background, serviceable standup, and a tenacity that is often unrivaled, he is looking to climb the lightweight ranks by defeating Clay Guida. Danzig is coming off back-to-back wins over Tommy Speer and Mark Bocek. What’s impressive about these two victories is the fact that Danzig was able to take on a much larger opponent than him in Tommy Speer and choke him out in a single round and that Danzig was able to choke out a BJJ black belt in his fight against Bocek.
There’s a lot to like about Danzig. His ground game is obviously a strength as most of his victories come via submission. His wrestling is solid, his standup is more than serviceable, and he’s an extremely tough kid. All of those things combined make for a pretty nasty competitor at 155 lbs. in the UFC. One of the biggest areas where Danzig could improve, however, is his standup. Hayato Sakurai ate Danzig up on the feet during their fight at PRIDE 33. Even though Danzig lasted a long time in the fight, Sakurai was never in trouble and took his time taking Danzig apart with leg kicks and eventually dropped him with a huge right hand. Danzig’s chin is also questionable as well as he took several shots from Sakurai that dropped him during their fight. However, I don’t think the standup will be an issue during the fight with Guida as I feel that the two are roughly equal on the feet.
Clay Guida, on the other hand, lives and breathes wrestling, ground and pound, and a high motor. It’s his trademark. His standup is good but his wrestling and conditioning is where Guida makes his money. This often can be a blessing and a curse. When Guida can’t take someone down and pound away at them then he is often left without a backup plan to attack. And when he does get people on the ground, in a position to finish them, he is often unable to do so. Case in point: Roger Huerta. Guida had Roger Huerta on the edge of defeat with a huge shot but was unable to finish him with strong ground and pound. Instead Guida just put together a flurry of useless punches that scored points but didn’t do enough damage to stop Huerta. And what happened after that? Huerta submitted him with a rear naked choke at the beginning of round three. Same thing happend in his loss to Tyson Griffin. Many believed that Guida had won the fight but he left it up to the judges. The judges ruled in favor of Griffin. Guida has not been able to finish high caliber lightweights.
I think this is where Danzig’s main advantage will be. I expect Danzig to be on his back at some points during the fight. I expect him to eat some punishment from Guida. But I also expect him to weather the storm, hang around, and eventually submit Guida. There are holes in both guys’ game. No one’s a perfect fighter. But I believe Guida’s proven time and time again that he has an inability to finish higher caliber fighters. He’s proven he can finish the Sammy Schiavo’s of the world but he hasn’t yet been able to finish the high level of opponent that he needs to take the next step.
This should be one hell of a scrap. Both guys are very tough, both like to scrap, scramble, and claw their way to victories. Guida’s conditioning should be very good, as it always is, and this will be one of Danzig’s toughest tests to date. Outside of Sakurai I don’t think he’s faced a tougher opponent. Guida is a very, very good opponent and it won’t surprise me if he’s able to win. But if I had to choose, and I do, I think he lets Danzig hang around way too long and gets submitted sometime in the third round.