The well-known and beloved Clay Guida (37-18) will enter the octagon against the young, up-and-coming prospect, Claudio Puelles (12-2).
Guida, at this point of his career, is used as a tough test to see if a prospect has the potential to climb the very deep lightweight division. Puelles, a prospect through and through, will look to overcome the wrestling and weaponization of cardio by Guida to showcase he has the skills necessary to be a problem for anyone that faces him. Ultimately, when a tough veteran squares off against a hungry prospect, fireworks are had and I expect this fight to be a banger from start to finish!
The odds have moved from Guida being a -140/50, to now, a pick’em in either direction.
- Guida: -110
- Puelles: -110
Puelles is an improving fighter who has shown better fight over fight. This improvement is pivotal, as he initially came into the UFC as a sole submission artist, with little to no offensive grappling nor significant success on the feet. But, in his recent fight against UFC veteran, Chris Gruetzemacher, Puelles looked to be comfortable striking, primarily by throwing damaging body and head kicks from the southpaw stance. Perhaps interestingly, given he had success on the feet, Puelles decided to grapple in each round, and albeit his takedown attempts were far from a thing of beauty, he managed to get the fight to the mat which showcases a step in the right direction.
On the mat, Puelles is extremely comfortable, as he understands guard passes and can land a variety of submissions from any position. The ability to end the night by submission, coupled with an improved striking game, is a combination that has had recent success for many individuals who possess this tactic in the octagon. But, when facing a strong grappling opponent, these fighters, Puelles included, have struggled with dictating the grappling exchanges. The consequence of doing so is playing guard from a defensive position, and if unable to secure a submission off of the back, they often lose by decision. So, in this particular fight, Puelles will need to show a greater willingness to trust his improved striking coupled with showing an unwillingness to play guard from his back, and if he makes these decisions, he has the skills to secure a tough victory.
Guida is the definition of a tough, grizzled veteran of the sport. His unrelenting style of combining cardio with his wrestling to put on a pace that many struggle with makes him an extremely difficult fight for anyone lacking strong grappling and cardio. Albeit he is nothing to write home about on the feet, particularly with defending strikes, he does do a good job cutting down distance and fighting at a range – and pace – that best suits him. Even though his striking is subpar, Guida, being an intelligent veteran of the sport, he does not shy away from using his cardio-wrestling for the entire duration of the fight; and, given he lacks significant ground and pound nor dangerous submissions at this point of his career – 1 submission win since 2011 – the fight frequently goes to the scorecards. So, if Guida’s opponent lacks the skill to keep the fight standing at range, Guida has the pace and output to win the fight. But, if his opponent has elite submissions and/or keeps the fight standing, Guida has shown to put himself in compromising positions that enable his opponent to finish the bout.
As with many of Guida’s fights over the last 5 years, the question of who will win largely is decided by his opponent, as Guida possesses the less technical skills but fights consistently and with a grueling pace. So, when predicting who will win, the question that looms over this fight is if Puelles has either the submission game to submit Guida and/or has the ability to keep the fight standing. Ultimately, I believe Puelles does have the submission game to pose a threat to Guida albeit playing guard may prove to be his demise. Perhaps more importantly, I believe Puelles has the skills necessary to keep the fight standing and inflict severe damage when on the feet. So, if Puelles shows strong fight IQ and trust in his striking acumen, he has the better arsenal to win this fight when compared to Guida.
Bet: Puelles; sprinkle Puelles by TKO/KO