The co-main event of the night at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale is a lightweight tilt between Anthony Pettis and Clay Guida. This fight makes Pettis' UFC debut while Guida is coming in off a win over Takanori Gomi at UFC 125. Both are highly-regarded fighters, but Guida exemplifies a more blue collar, meat and potatoes style of attack. Pettis, by contrast, is exceptionally well-rounded and prepared to fight in every dimension of the game. Bloody Elbow explains the essentials of this match-up:
The obvious disparity between these two fighters is in the skills they possess. Guida, for all the success he's had on the balance sheet due to his exciting, relentless style of fighting, is far from a consummate fighter. His striking remains one of his major weaknesses, although I will say that it has actually improved in the last few fights. He's made the improvements to utilize submissions in combination with his grinding style of wrestling, something that he could have benefited from greatly a number of years ago. But the past is the past, and it's refreshing to see Guida make the changes to his game to finish his opponents.
Pettis, on the other hand, is much more well-rounded. He possesses a sharp, diverse stand-up game that has been honed by Duke Roufus, and his ground game is good enough to threaten mid-to-upper level wrestlers and grapplers looking to neutralize his offense on the feet. At 24 years of age, Pettis will be one of the key figures at the top of the division for years to come. He's that good at this point in his career, and time will only improve him.
History states that Guida's key to victory is a high pace and an endless gas tank. He doesn't have the striking ability to compete with Pettis, and I'm of the belief that he'll be waxed in the striking department if he tries to stand toe-to-toe with Pettis for a prolonged period of time. The threat of constant pressure and takedowns could affect how Pettis goes about his business on the feet, but he's proven his ability to transition to a defensive stance quickly.
Pettis went so far as to state he took this fight because he believes he's better everywhere. I'm not entirely certain he's wrong and we won't know for sure until his back is against the cage fending off Guida's incessant attempts. For Pettis to truly win, he'll need to be able to transition between dimensions of the game rapidly and flawlessly. As soon as he stuffs a takedown he needs to create an angle and strike, for example. That's the key to stopping Guida. Once you let him settle into his type of game where the opponent is counterfighting, that's usually too much.
My prediction? I like Pettis here to prove he's incredibly elite.