Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweights Clay Guida and Robbie Peralta clash this Saturday (April 4, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 63 on FOX Sports 1 from inside the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia.
Since dropping to featherweight, Guida has experienced mixed results, alternating wins and losses. Though he's in the top 10, Guida recently left his longtime gym to train with both Team Alpha Male and the Glendale Fight Club in order to further develop his game.
One of the hardest hitters in the division, Peralta has carved himself a home inside the Octagon. The knockout artist has yet to announce himself as a top contender, but he has that opportunity here.
Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both men.
Key Wins: Anthony Pettis (TUF 13 Finale), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC 117), Tatsuya Kawajiri (UFC Fight Night 39)
Key Losses: Dennis Bermudez (UFC on FOX 12), Chad Mendes (UFC 164), Gray Maynard (UFC on FX 4)
Keys to Victory: Guida is well-known for his relentless wrestling, incredible conditioning, and habit for getting into wild brawls. Though he's been trying to tone down that last part, "The Carpenter" is still willing to throw down if need be.
In this bout, that's hardly the best game plan. Guida's certainly tough enough to brawl with Peralta, but his opponent is simply too dangerous.
Instead, Guida should use his nonstop movement to frustrate Peralta. At times, Guida can bounce in with a jab or kick. Peralta, being the aggressive striker that he is, will look to land heavy counters or chase Guida with punches.
Either way, Guida will have an opportunity to get in on his opponent's hips and score a takedown. From top position, Guida should stay active and look to pass, as Peralta's jiu-jitsu from his back is not particularly impressive. If Guida can move into a dominant position, he could find his opponent's neck.
If Guida has a difficult time securing the takedown early, he needs to chain his attempts together. Even if that ultimately fails the first few times, it will quickly tire Peralta, an issue that Guida has never faced.
Key Wins: Rony Jason (TUF Brazil 3 Finale), Estevan Payan (UFC 168)
Key Losses: Thiago Tavares (UFC Fight Night 47), Akira Corassani (UFC on Fuel TV 9)
Keys to Victory: A Taekwondo black belt, Peralta spends most of his Octagon time walking his opponent down and throwing bombs. He's clearly doing something right, as 13 of his victories came via knockout.
In order to make Guida his next victim, Peralta needs to take control of the bout immediately. He needs to force Guida to respect his power and react to his feints, rather than the opposite.
Peralta should also focus on moving forward and cutting off the cage. He cannot get wild -- that will open up the takedown too easily -- but Peralta can control the bout with his kickboxing. Then, if he manages to trap Guida against the fence, Peralta can unleash with his strikes.
If Peralta is controlling the center of the Octagon and staying on his feet, he's almost certainly winning the fight. In that situation, Guida will be forced to act and make something happen, which could end up with him running into a punch.
Bottom Line: Guida is fighting to prove that he's still a top featherweight, while Peralta is looking for his big break.
While Guida put on a very strong showing against Kawajiri, the verdict is still out of his overall featherweight potential. If Guida can quickly dispatch Peralta, he'll really solidify his position as a top-notch 145-pound scrapper.
On the other hand, if Guida falls to Peralta, he'll fall out of the top 10 for the first time in years. In addition, it could raise questions as to whether or not his move from lightweight was sound decision.
At nearly 30 years old and with over 20 professional fights, the time is now for Peralta to make an impact. After his last loss -- in which he didn't land a single strike before quickly being submitted -- it's very important for Peralta's career that he earns a victory here.
While it's definitely a risky bout for "Problems," it could potentially be the biggest win of his career.
At UFC Fight Night 64, Clay Guida and Robbie Peralta will go to war. Which fighter will have his hand raised?