Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight grinders Clay Guida and Mark Madsen will collide this weekend (Sat., Aug. 21, 2021) at UFC Vegas 34 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In life, in his career, in the Octagon — Guida just does not stop. “The Carpenter” has seen his share of ups-and-downs over the course of an 18-year professional career, but since his return to 155 pounds, he’s won more than he’s lost and is coming off a solid victory. Safe to say, Guida isn’t done yet. On the flip side, Madsen is the rare 36-year-old prospect. The Dane is an Olympic silver medalist in Greco Roman wrestling, and while the rest of his game is still coming together, that credential alone is enough to raise eyebrows.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: B.J. Penn (UFC 237), Joe Lauzon (UFC Fight Night 120), Michael Johnson (UFC Vegas 18) Erik Koch (UFC Fight Night 112), Anthony Pettis (TUF 13 Finale), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC 117)
Key Losses: Bobby Green (UFC Vegas 3), Jim Miller (UFC on ESPN 5), Charles Oliveira (UFC 225), Brian Ortega (UFC 199)
Keys to Victory: For the majority of his career, wrestling has been the path to victory for Guida, who pushes an intense pace that simply does not relent. However, his hands have come a long way in recent years, as Guida has been able to keep his unique movement while sitting down more on his punches.
In this bout, pace is key. Madsen may be an ultra decorated wrestler, but he fatigued quite a bit in his bout vs. Austin Hubbard when the finish did not materialize early. MMA fights are not wrestling matches; it’s an entirely different type of conditioning, drawn out over a longer period of time.
For Guida, then, the goal should be to make his opponent work. At range, “The Carpenter” has to keep his feet moving and try to provoke his foe into chasing him into hard shots. In addition, Guida’s calf kick could be useful at this distance.
When the two lock horns, Madsen is very likely to hold the wrestling advantage early. That’s not a huge problem provided Guida forces his foe to keep exerting himself, however, as that tide will likely turn. Plus, I cannot really remember an occasion when Guida was controlled on the mat for the entire fight, though he has to be careful of giving up any checkmate positions while trying to force the scramble.
Key Wins: Austin Hubbard (UFC 248), Danilo Belluardo (UFC Fight Night 160), Patrick Nielsen (Olympic Fight Night)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Madsen is a very obvious physical specimen in the Octagon. His combination of technique and strength in the clinch and on the mat can be simply overwhelming, and his standup is at least threatening enough to set up his wrestling.
In this bout, Madsen’s goal should be to secure position. It’s one thing to score the takedown, which can be an exhausting process. It’s another entirely to hold down a veteran scrambler like Guida, but ideally, that’s the top fighter’s opportunity to rest and recover after the athletic explosion that is a successful takedown.
Against Guida, Madsen has to capitalize on his foe’s attempts to stand by locking down the position. If he can advance to a position like back mount or triangle the legs along the fence, Madsen will be able to actually make the most of his takedowns and score real damage. That’s his best chance of finishing, as well as forcing Guida into a pace that Madsen can handle.
Though there’s just three years between them, this is classic veteran vs. prospect matchmaking.
With the odd exception of his bout vs. current champion Charles Oliveira — seriously, how did that happen? — Guida’s recent opposition has all been fellow veterans. This is arguably the first time he’s taken on an up-and-comer since returning to 155 lbs., though this type of bout definitely makes sense given where he’s at in his career. Win or lose, Guida’s trajectory doesn’t change too much.
On the flip side, Madsen has been talking about a UFC title since his debut. At his age, time is short to make a run, so the goal here should be to make a statement in his first co-main event slot. If he can run through Guida, perhaps the Olympian will find himself locked in the cage vs. ranked opposition next.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 34 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 34: “Cannonier vs. Gastelum” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
At UFC Vegas 34, Clay Guida and Mark Madsen will go to war in the co-main event. Which man will earn the victory?