So much for clarity in the lightweight title picture.
Clay Guida took care of that on Saturday night when he exploited Anthony Pettis’ lax takedown defense en route to a unanimous decision victory in the main event of “The Ultimate Fighter” season 13 live finale. In doing so, the underdog Guida perfectly executed a great game plan, at least temporarily scuttled any notion of Pettis as a championship contender and further smashed the already broken 155-pound contender list.
He probably shouldn’t expect a thank you card from UFC matchmakers anytime soon.
On the bright side, it was arguably the best performance of Guida’s career. From the opening bell he was relentless with his takedown attempts and busy from the top, hitting Pettis with just about every kind of strike allowed by the unified rules while avoiding the danger of the 24-year-old former WEC champion’s active guard. The win likely doesn’t fast-forward Guida into his own title match, but it does make him a legitimate contender for perhaps the first time in his near half-decade UFC career.
That’s all we know with any certainty right now. Just like everything else regarding the 155-pound class during the last year or so, the rest is just speculation.
If the UFC is interested in establishing a clear cut No. 1 contender by the time champion Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard settle their upcoming business, it makes sense to match Guida up with the winner of Jim Miller’s bout with Ben Henderson at UFC Live in August. But really, only if Miller wins. Henderson is coming off a successful promotional debut at UFC 129, but immediately prior to that he lost his WEC title to Pettis last December. Wouldn’t make much sense to push him straight to the front of the line.
If not Miller, maybe the winner of Melvin Guillard’s upcoming bout with Shane Roller at UFC 132. But really, only if it’s Guillard. Roller has won two straight, but prior to that lost to Pettis at WEC 50. You’re starting to see where this is going, right? If not Guillard, then maybe the winner of Matt Wiman’s fight with Dennis Siver, also at 132. But boy, it’s really starting to feel like we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel here, doesn’t it?
Maybe we should all just relax. After all, there’s a fair-decent chance either Miller and/or Guillard will emerge victorious from their scheduled bouts. If they do, they can fight Guida. Or each other. Or something.
Then again, the way the 155-pound division has been going lately, you can’t assume anything. Remember, Guillard only got here by upsetting assumed No. 1 contender Evan Dunham and Siver is only in the discussion because he surprised everyone in defeating George Sotiropoulos as well. Toss Edgar and Maynard’s draw at UFC 125, then their injuries and Guida’s win over Pettis this weekend and … well, you get the picture.
With all the turmoil at lightweight the truth is there is no obvious No. 1 contender right now and the UFC will have to work double-time – and hope for some lucky breaks – in order to name one any time soon. At this point, it’d be great if somebody would come along with a magic bullet that could fix this logjam with the snap of his fingers.
Especially if that magic bullet was shaped a lot like Gilbert Melendez.