The Ultimate Fighting Championship rocks the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on New Year’s Day putting on an incredible night of fights with UFC 125. The card is star studded, with promising matches between Nate Diaz (12-6) and Dong Hyun Kim (10-4-2), “The Truth” Brandon Vera (11-5) and Thiago Silva (15-2), “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-7) and Brian Stann (9-3), and a lightweight title bout of epic proportions featuring “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1) taking on the undefeated “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0). Also on the card is a bout that is a sure candidate for Fight of the Night in “The Carpenter” Clay Guida (27-11) facing PRIDE and Shooto veteran “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi (29-7). Let’s take a closer look at how this one could play out.
At First Glance: With the official addition of the WEC’s lightweight division quickly approaching with the 2011 merger, both Guida and Gomi are top contenders that really haven’t much to worry about as far as rankings go. However, it is a momentous fight as far as the lightweight division is concerned with both men looking to make a statement to the incoming new blood in the organization and its 155lbs. division. Fans who seek a quick knockout or submission in this fight are setting themselves up for disappointment as both Gomi and Guida are tough as nails and likely will go some distance in trying to prove himself the superior man. Expect both 155lb.-ers to bring their A-Game in an edge-of-your-seat battle.
In-Depth: Takanori Gomi is the former Shooto welterweight champ and the last and only PRIDE Lightweight Champion. He also is a well-rounded fighter who boasts real power in his fists and a set ground game as made evident by his multiple awards in submission wrestling with the All Japan Combat Wrestling Championships.While many of his victories have come by decision he also has earned a dozen TKO/KO victories and five wins via submission. “The Carpenter” Clay Guida is no slouch, though. With his world renowned cardio that seems to last for days on end, an impressive wrestling background, and the relentless pressure that he puts on opponents, Guida will certainly prove to be a lot for Gomi to deal with. Guida has 11 wins via submission and has been defeated by such method in six of his total 11 losses; Gomi has been finished by submission in five of his seven defeats. “The Fireball Kid” relies heavily on his stand-up skills to finish opponents but one substantial problem that may arise in his match-up with “The Carpenter” is that Guida has never been knocked out in his professional career. In fact, Guida absorbs punishment almost if not more effectively than he dishes it out.
The Wild Card: With the odds in favor of Guida walking out the victor despite Gomi’s long list of accolades, the true wild card in this fight is Gomi’s stand-up. Guida’s wild, flailing style plays well into the much more pinpoint accuracy of “The Fireball Kid”. There lies the viable possibility that amidst Guida’s flashy bobbing and weaving and pushing his signature long hair out of his face, Gomi could throw and land a bomb square on the chin of “The Carpenter”, putting him away for the night. “The Fireball Kid” hones big power in his hands and knows how to use it, and a spectacular win over lightweight favorite Guida would be an opportune time to do so.
The Verdict: Look for Guida to pour on the pressure and have control over most of the fight. Gomi will likely keep his distance, nailing “The Carpenter” with jabs and hooks then moving out of Guida’s takedown range then trying to knock him out when Guida goes for the shoot. After a few minutes of exchanging strikes, “The Carpenter” will be keen to the threat of Gomi’s striking and likely take Gomi to the ground where he then may pull out his bag of submission tricks to try to submit his opponent. With Guida’s well rounded ground and submission skills, he likely will work “The Fireball Kid” on the ground, outwrestling and positioning Gomi until he can slap on a submission and finish the fight. Guida via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3.