In the stacked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 145-pound division, making a name as a new Featherweight contender is no small task. However, two big names in the sport, Clay Guida and Tatsuya Kawajiri, have recently joined the ranks.
More important, "Carpenter" and "Crusher" will hook 'em up later this afternoon (Fri., April 11, 2014) on Fight Pass in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 39 from du Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Guida, whose UFC tenure began all the way back in 2006, has become known for many different kinds of performances. Even though he has put on terrific fights in his bouts with Roger Huerta, Diego Sanchez and Ben Henderson, he has also turned in some miserably boring performances, most notably in his wins against Anthony Pettis and Gray Maynard.
Maynard fight excluded, Guida's fights tend to be exciting when his opponent is competent enough to thwart his stifling top game. Against "The Bully," the fight was boring mostly because Guida's gameplan seemed to be a concerted effort to do anything but fight, while Maynard was completely inept at cutting off the cage and keeping the caveman in front of him.
When Guida can't get the takedown, he tends to rush forward with reckless abandon, throwing wildly with quick forward movements, putting the pressure on his opponent to counter a constantly moving and attacking target. When he gets caught, he continues to throw aggressively, even if he is clearly hurt by his opponent.
Kawajiri has been a well known mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter for some time, making his name in Japan for promotions such as Dream, K-1, Pride FC and Shooto. His style is the embodiment of his nickname, "Crusher," leveraging terrific wrestling ability and physical strength to bring the fight to his opponent. His striking doesn't tend to be his main focus, but he does sport strong, fairly technical boxing skills with good power in his hands.
The key to this match being an exciting is Kawajiri's wrestling ability, both defensively and offensively, which is probably enough to give Guida problems. Guida will be unable to have his way with Kawajiri, meaning that this fight will either be played out on neutral terms on the feet or we'll see Guida taken down and put under pressure.
Should either of those scenarios happen, expect Guida to fight like a mad dog to gain the upper hand. He'll attempt to make up for the skill discrepancy in the striking department with constant pressure, which should set the pace for a terrific back-and-forth struggle for supremacy.
Clinch battles will be technical, but high paced, while the striking portion of this fight could be very interesting, leading me to believe this fight will be the most exciting on an otherwise weak UFC Fight Night 39 card. Indeed, expect Clay Guida and Tatsuya Kawajiri to deliver a very fun fight in Abu Dhabi ... perhaps even the "Fight of the Night."