UFC Fight Night: Guida vs. KawajiriFriday, April 11 – 4:00 p.m. ET
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Clay Guida (30-11) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (33-7-2)Featherweight bout
Line: Guida -135, Kawajiri +105
Clay Guida will look to bounce back from a loss as he takes on Tatsuya Kawajiri on the main card at UFC Fight Night on Friday in Abu Dhabi.
Although he was knocked out by Chad Mendes in his last match on Aug. 31, Guida is a crafty veteran that has beaten some of the best fighters in the sport, such as Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz and Hatsu Hioki. Guida is one of the best well-conditioned athletes in MMA, but is also a terrific wrestler as well. He does a great job of wearing out his opponents, and usually proves to be too much to handle in the final rounds. His opponent, Tatsuya Kawajiri, is a versatile fighter who has shown the ability to win a match in many different ways. Kawajiri enters this bout on a six-fight winning streak, including a victory against Sean Soriano in Singapore on Jan. 4. He was able to lock in a rear-naked choke with 50 seconds remaining in the second round. While he has gone up against some terrific fighters in his career, Kawajri is still looking for a career defining victory. On Friday, he will get that, as KAWAJIRI will win a thrilling match against Guida, to remain unbeaten in six fights at the featherweight level.
"The Crusher" Kawajiri has 33 victories in his career, and shown the ability to win a match in many different ways with the breakdown of wins being 12 knockouts, 10 submissions and 11 decisions. The fighters are pretty even when it comes to landing punches with Kawajiri tallying 2.28 significant strikes per minute, while Guida is close behind at 2.08. However, the 35-year-old Kawajiri is much more accurate when throwing those punches (46% landed) compared to Guida (30%). But the Japanese-born fighter's ability to compete on the ground will play a big role in this match, as Kawajiri has a slight edge in takedown average (3.86 to 3.66), but a huge advantage in takedown accuracy (56% to 39%). While Kawajari is a great wrestler, he may want to keep this fight on his feet, because Guida is very difficult to beat on the ground.
Of his 30 career victories, "The Carpenter" Guida has won 13 by way of submission. He has also won 11 by decision with another six victories coming by knockout. The 32-year-old reeled off four straight wins starting in 2010, but has struggled in the octagon recently, going 1-3 in his past four matches. However, his opponents in these bouts have been terrific, as he fell to Benson Henderson in a unanimous decision, Gray Maynard in a split decision, and the aforementioned Chad Mendes. Guida, who hails from Round Lake, Illinois and fights out of Albuquerque should have the crowd in his favor. His 5-foot-7, 145-pound frame is identical to that of his Friday opponent, and Guida does a great job of avoiding the devastating punch, defending 66% of his opponent’s significant strikes (57% for Kawajiri). He will have to fight his style to get the win, because Kawajiri is too good with his strikes for Guida to get the victory on his feet.