Wish I could take credit for the clever Flock of Seagulls reference that marcandre1986 dropped in the comments section to describe the UFC on FX 4 main event last night (June 22, 2012) at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., between Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida.
That's because there's really no better way to describe (or sing) what went down inside the Octagon for approximately 23 of the 25 minutes that the two Lightweight fighters were locked inside a cage together.
From the outset, it was crystal clear that Guida was going to elevate his frenetic, spastic "head movement" and "great footwork" to Level Nauseous. He dipped, ducked, fainted, faked, shaked and baked for most of the fight, refusing to engage "The Bully" for any extended period of time whatsoever.
Maynard was patient at first, but then as the third round began and "The Carpenter" continued his charade, frustration inside -- and outside -- the Octagon began to bubble over.
In fact, at one point in the fourth frame Maynard dropped his hands and invited Guida to punch him in the face. He did, about three times, and then dove in for a takedown that Maynard quickly used to lock up a tight guillotine choke. Guida was able to pop out his head eventually, which led to more of the same.
Maynard caught him again in the final stanza and worked for a takedown that never materialized. Once the pair separated, and Guida got back on his bike, the referee in charge of the mixed martial arts (MMA) action stopped the fight and warned Guida, finally, to knock it off and get busy.
Unfortunately, for fight fans, it was a case of too little, too late.
The fight mercifully came to a conclusion shortly thereafter and after a few tense moments when Bruce Buffer revealed that the judges were split on the outcome, we had our winner: Gray Maynard. It could have easily gone the other way with the way in which Guida was trying to coast to a victory on points, so it's good news that he was not rewarded for his puzzling performance.
It's also good news that Maynard returns to the win column and is now thrown right back "into the mix" of top 155-pound contenders. He called for a title shot and/or fourth fight with Frankie Edgar, but he'll probably have to wait on that and take another fight or two while "The Answer" tries to figure out division champion Ben Henderson later this year.
Someone, hopefully, who wants to fight.
Speaking of guys who like to fight, Spencer Fisher and Sam Stout collided in the co-featured match of the evening, each looking to notch the tie-breaking win that would tip the trilogy in the winner's favor.
"Hands of Stone" traded in his pillow fists for a more well-rounded gameplan that included, of all things, wrestling. The Canadian blended in a healthy helping of takedowns to keep Fisher off balance, score points and dictate the pace for most of the 15-minute back-and-forth battle.
It was a recipe for success, with Stout earning a unanimous decision nod from the three judges sitting ringside.
In the process, Fisher and Stout turned in yet another "Fight of the Night" performance, which has to be some kind of record for a particular match up. These two clearly complement each other very well, even if the third and final showdown last night didn't hold a candle to their first encounter more than a half-decade ago.
That was special. But, so, too is the way in which the dynamic duo tied a ribbon around their combined legacies.
Take a bow, gentleman.
While one veteran's career is likely coming to a close (Fisher), another registered career win number 50 in other main card action.
However, Brian Ebersole was almost denied the landmark victory after what appeared to be another fight-ending finish from submission whiz T.J. Waldburger in the first round of the Welterweight bout. Waldburger sunk in a super deep D'arce choke that seemed to trap seven pints of blood above Ebersole's neck.
Struggling and barely breathing, red-headed Ebersole somehow managed to wiggle himself free after a very extensive attempt from Waldburger. It's safe to say that Ebersole was able to defend and escape because of his experience, which can also be attributed to how he performed for the remaining two rounds after he set himself free.
Ebersole dug deep and grinded for the next 10 minutes, landing takedowns and avoiding submissions. Waldburger was very crafty off his back, but when you're on your back, it's hard to score points in the eyes of the judges ... even if effective. The pair sprinkled a few good stand up exchanges throughout the duration of their 170-pound bout, but for the most part, this was all about Waldburger trying to land a submission and Ebersole doing what it takes to win.
That's four straight inside the Octagon and 11 in a row dating back to 2008. Impressive, even if his chesty "hairrow" isn't. At all.
Last, and certainly not least, was the long-awaited arrival of Cub Swanson.
The former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) has been the model of inconsistency in recent years, unable to live up to the lofty expectations that were heaped on him prior to his surprise submission loss to Jens Pulver back in 2007. He was just never the same fighter since that time, or perhaps, he really just wasn't as good as everyone thought he was.
Pearson, who is relatively new to the 145-pound ranks, is a very tough competitor. And he demonstrated that by walking through everything that Swanson hit him with, and it was significant, like The Terminator. "Real Deal" didn't even appear to wince, even though Swanson was connecting with very solid strikes.
That is, until, round two.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9 winner was in the midst of walking through another hail of Swanson strikes when he finally met his match: Front kick, right, right, left, kaboom. The secret code sealed the deal for Swanson, as Pearson dropped a hooker's panties and was rendered defenseless. He wasn't clean out, but Pearson was in major trouble and the referee had no choice but to step in and waive off the fight.
A fight that will get us all talking about Swanson again. A fight that he wasn't supposed to win, but did. A fight that hopefully means that Swanson has indeed arrived after all these years of waiting.
Better late than never.
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss UFC on FX 4: "Maynard vs. Guida" in the comments section below.
What was up with Guida? Where does Maynard go from here? Satisfied with the way in which this trilogy ended? Is Ebersole a pretender or contender? Can Swanson get on a roll?
Let's hear it, Maniacs.
Be sure to also check out our complete UFC on FX 4 blow-by-blow coverage of the entire "Maynard vs. Guida" event right here.