A month after an action-packed UFC 146, the organization returns with a nice one-two combo, featuring two fight cards on two consecutive evenings. Despite numerous injuries that have weakened the rosters, there will be no shortage of quality matchups between the two cards, especially in the main events.
Friday night's UFC on FX will feature perennial lightweight contenders Gray Maynard and Clay Guida. Saturday night's pay-per-view UFC 147 event will feature a rematch of former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva with former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin, who will be filling in for the injured Vitor Belfort. With so many matchups to break down and analyze, we'll take a look at the statistics behind the fights to help find value in the lines for this weekend's two events.
Main event: Five rounds, UFC on FX
Gray Maynard (minus-335) vs. Clay Guida (plus-275)
Maynard versus Guida is a signature matchup, as it features two of the best wrestlers in the UFC's lightweight division. Though both have wrestling backgrounds, Maynard is also known for his well-rounded game and patient style, contending for the title twice against previous lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Guida, on the other hand, has developed the reputation for an imposing, high-energy attack. Though Maynard has the more impressive wrestling pedigree, what few bettors will note is the distinction between the takedown efficiency of Guida and Maynard when it comes to MMA, which could make all the difference in this one.
While Maynard has historically utilized his wrestling skills to keep fights standing, boasting a terrific takedown defense of 85 percent, Guida routinely utilizes his wrestling skills to actively take opponents to the ground and put them on their backs. What seems to be lost in the odds is that Guida outperforms Maynard in this area, landing an average 4.27 takedowns per 15 minutes, compared to Maynard's 2.91. While a solid defense is respected, an aggressive attack that is successfully executed will always win favor with the judges. Another strength for Maynard is his power in the stand-up, with the ability to knock opponents out with a single punch.
Guida, though, has never been knocked out in his 41-fight career. His weakness happens to be losing by submission, which he has fallen victim to six times in the past. The bad news for Maynard is that he has never landed a submission before in a fight, especially off of his back, from which Guida customarily is submitted. And to make more of a case for Guida, this fight will be five rounds, and few fighters are better prepared than Guida for an unrivaled pace that never seems to wear down throughout the fight.
In short, Maynard, who has relinquished momentum in the past, losing all of the championship rounds in both Edgar fights, is going to have a much tougher time than the odds are indicating. At nearly 3-1, Guida is a steal here, as he is more than capable of taking it to Maynard on Friday night.
Insider's value pick: Guida