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ATLANTIC CITY, June 22 – With the exception of a brief minute and a half window in the fourth round, the war between lightweight contenders Gray Maynard and Clay Guida never materialized, but when it was over Friday night, Maynard got back in the win column the hard way, eking out a close split decision victory in the UFC on FX main event at the Revel Casino.
“I thought Guida was coming to fight,” said Maynard, winner by tallies of 48-47 twice and 47-48. “He’s a tough kid, he came with a little gameplan, whatever it was. I thought I won that fight.”
Maynard and Guida were contrasts in approach as the bout opened – Maynard calmly stalking behind a conventional guard as Guida was all energy and motion. Guida’s herky-jerky movement did give him the opening to draw blood on Maynard’s nose with a slashing punch, but it was the defense of “The Carpenter” that was the real revelation in the first five minutes, as he didn’t allow Maynard to get any sort of offense in gear.
Guida introduced a jab into his arsenal in round two as Maynard got into a lower stance trying to goad the Illinois native into a close quarters brawl. Guida wasn’t playing along though, and he continued to use his movement to baffle “The Bully.” In the second half of the round, Maynard started to take more chances, but his wild kicks and punches came up empty, and with 40 seconds left in the second, it was a right kick to the head by Guida that was the big scoring blow of the round.
As the third opened, Maynard finally landed a solid right to the head, but Guida didn’t try to retaliate. Instead he began moving again, continuing with the strategy that had kept Maynard at bay for the previous 10 minutes. 90 seconds in, Maynard got close enough to attempt a takedown, but Guida defended well, and as he backpedaled around the ring, the crowd booed and Maynard put his hands up in frustration. As the seconds ticked away, Maynard was able to land a knee at close range, though it didn’t stop him from yelling at Guida at the end of the round, telling him to fight.
Remarkably, Guida appeared to be as fresh in round four as he was in the first, continuing to move around the Octagon and Maynard with ease. Maynard got off another couple knees when he was able to briefly corner his foe, and with virtually nothing coming back at him, he could get a little reckless with his striking. With under 90 seconds left, a fight finally broke out, with Guida landing a hard shot to Maynard’s face and “The Bully” simply dropping his hands and demanding that his foe hit him again. Guida obliged and then shot for a takedown, and though Maynard locked in a guillotine choke, “The Carpenter” slammed his way out of it and spent the rest of the round in the top position and in control.
Finally in striking range, Maynard went on the attack and landed with two right hands in the opening minute of the fifth and final round. His disdainful defense cost him moments later though as he ate a kick and two punches to the jaw from Guida that rocked him briefly. Maynard continued to chase as Guida, his left cheek bruised up and swollen, literally ran out of trouble, drawing a warning from referee Dan Miragliotta. With 90 seconds left, Maynard looked for the takedown, and while it wasn’t pretty, he got Guida’s knee to the mat as he fired off knees to the leg and then the head, capping off the round and the fight.
With the win, Maynard bounces back from his first pro loss to Frankie Edgar last October and improves to 12-1-1 with 1 NC; Guida falls to 29-10.
FISHER vs. STOUT
The end of the trilogy between Sam Stout and Spencer Fisher may not have produced the same fireworks their first two bouts did, but what the rubber match did deliver was the close, back and forth action that epitomized every one of the 45 minutes the two 155-pounders spent in the Octagon together. In the end, it was Stout winning the unanimous decision and the series, 2-1.
All three judges saw it 30-27 in a fight that was much more competitive than those scores would indicate. Stout, who won his first bout with Fisher in 2006, improves to 19-7-1. Fisher, who won their classic rematch in 2007, falls to 25-9.
It was no shocker that Stout and Fisher came out throwing punches, and though both were off-target early, they quickly warmed up, with Fisher getting the best of the exchanges at close range. Stout’s time to get even came when the combatants surprisingly went to the mat, and the Canadian got on the board with some hard ground strikes. After the two rose in the final minute, Stout tried for another takedown but was turned away, and it was Fisher who got the last word with a thudding spinning back fist at the bell.
Fisher’s standup continued to impress in the second round, and the frustration – and the effect of the punches – was showing on Stout’s face. With a little over a minute to go though, Stout took the bout to the mat again and was able to close out the round well, sending the fight into the third and final round.
With his right eye rapidly closing, Stout waded into the fray, Fisher eagerly meeting him and sending sweat flying with each flush shot. Stout’s best success of the fight came with his takedowns though, and he scored yet another one as the second half of the round got underway. Fisher got up fairly quickly, but moments later he was put on his back again. After a standup by referee Kevin Mulhall with under 30 seconds left, the two fittingly slugged it out in the middle of the Octagon until the bell rang and then followed with an embrace only two fighters who have spent nine rounds together could understand.
EBERSOLE vs. WALDBURGER
Scores were 29-28 across the board, for Ebersole (50-14-1, 1 NC), winner of four in a row.
Known for his ground game, Waldburger (15-7) instead used his striking to get into the scoring column first, as a short left dropped Ebersole to the mat 30 seconds into the bout. Waldburger then moved in for the finish, getting into the mount position and then sinking in a choke, but Ebersole was able to smoothly escape and get back to his feet, where he had some success before the bell tolled.
Waldburger got the bout to the canvas by conventional means early in round two, but this time it was Ebersole in control thanks to some thudding ground strikes. Waldburger was far from out of his element though, as he worked for Ebersole’s arm and then attempted a triangle from the bottom, only to come up short both times as the “Bad Boy” fired away with accurate shots.
From cartwheels and Thai clinches to high kicks and a takedown, Ebersole put everything out on the table in the third round, but the cool Waldburger refused to be rattled as he looked for submissions from his back again. Ebersole wasn’t going to give the Texan what he wanted though, and his busy ground attack cemented his 50th pro victory.
PEARSON vs. SWANSON
It looks like longtime featherweight standout Cub Swanson is finally going to start reaping the rewards of his years of MMA service after his second consecutive knockout victory, this one coming over former Ultimate Fighter winner Ross Pearson in the UFC on FX main card opener.
Swanson showed off some of the tricks he picked up working with recent Manny Pacquiao-conqueror Timothy Bradley, confidently coming back from an early Pearson takedown to stick, move and keep the Brit guessing, even dropping him briefly with a right hand with a little less than three minutes remaining.
There was no letup from the Californian in round two, but Pearson pushed the pace even faster as he looked to even the score. “The Real Deal” did score another takedown, but after Swanson got up, he bloodied his foe’s face and went right back to work before a missed flying knee allowed Pearson to get back on top on the mat. With a minute left, the two got back to their feet, and Swanson went back to work. This time, he checked out early with a left hook that dropped Pearson hard to the mat. As Swanson moved in with more strikes, referee Yves Lavigne decided that he had seen enough, calling a stop to the bout 4:14 into the second frame.
Swanson improves to 17-5 with the win. Pearson drops to 15-6.