Clay Guida shut down “Showtime.”
Guida kept a frenetic pace, scored with multiple takedowns and thwarted numerous submission attempts, as he spoiled the promotional debut of former WEClightweight champion Anthony Pettis in a unanimous decision victory at “The Ultimate Fighter 13” Finale on Saturday at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
The 29-year-old Guida swept the scorecards, 30-27 from all three judges.
Executing his game plan to near perfection, Guida (29-11, 9-5 UFC) closed the distance on Pettis and either pinned him on the cage or planted him on his back. Pettis stayed active from the bottom, threatening with triangles and armbars, but none of them caught Guida, who showed off superb submission defense and never slowed down.
Pettis (13-2, 0-1 UFC) had his chance late in the third round. On an attempted takedown from Guida, he scrambled into top position, secured full mount and forced the Chicagoan to surrender his back. Pettis searched as he punched, working to position himself for a rear-naked choke. The relentless Guida escaped, however, as he shook the Milwaukee native free. He put a late exclamation point on his victory, as he pressed the downed Pettis against the cage and took back control, hooks in, at the horn.
“We showed them what wrestling is all about,” he said. “I want to show them that I’m the No. 1 contender. Lightweight division, look out in 2011. It’s my year.”
Ferguson KOs Nijem, Takes ‘TUF 13’ Crown
Tony Ferguson added his name to a distinguished list that includes former UFC light heavyweight champions Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans, as he knocked out Ramsey Nijem in the first round of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 welterweight final.
A clean left hook dropped Nijem near the cage, and Ferguson polished off the Utah-based wrestler with a stiff right hand 3:54 into round one.
“Holy crap, man,” Ferguson said, “I don’t remember even throwing that.”
Ferguson (11-2, 1-0 UFC) caught Nijem off guard less than 20 seconds into the bout, as he scored with a takedown and took a dominant top position. The two ultimately returned to their feet, but the tone had been set. Nijem (4-2, 0-1 UFC) had one more Ferguson weapon about which to worry.
Standing, Ferguson was the superior fighter. He worked off his jab until the opening presented itself. The 27-year-old Californian fired a right hand that grazed the top of Nijem’s head and then landed the left hook that marked the beginning of the end. The fallen Nijem could not defend himself as the final punch fell.
“I learned a lot about myself in [the house during the season],” Ferguson said. “I kept a lot of stuff bottled up, and I brought a lot of demons in there. From now on, I want to do the right thing so that kids can look up to me as a role model.”
Herman Blasts Credeur in Return
Herman made quick work of Credeur.
Herman (22-9, 5-5 UFC) blitzed Credeur with powerful first-round punches in their featured middleweight bout, as he made a triumphant return from a knee injury that resulted in two surgeries and had kept him on the sidelines since UFC 102 in August 2009. He stopped Credeur in just 48 seconds.
Credeur met with trouble in the clinch, as Herman pinned his head and dragged him into a brutal right uppercut that planted the stunned Louisianan on his back. Herman wasted no time, as he showered Credeur (12-4, 3-2 UFC) with a series of heavy standing-to-ground punches that ended it.
“I’ve been working my uppercut a lot, man,” Herman said. “I’ve been hurting people with it.”
Kingsbury Outlasts Maldonado
A former college football player, Kingsbury utilized solid clinch work and superior wrestling, as he outdueled Brazilian striker Fabio Maldonado en route to a unanimous decision in a middleweight showcase. All three judges scored it 29-28 for Kingsbury, who has quietly put together a streak of four consecutive wins.
Kingsbury (11-2, 1 NC, 4-1 UFC) enjoyed early success with the Thai plum, as he attacked Maldonado’s body, head and forearms with knees. He scored with the first of his two first-round takedowns with roughly three minutes left in the period. However, Maldonado trapped him with an arm-in guillotine choke and forced him to scramble free. Later, when Kingsbury returned to the clinch, Maldonado answered with cracking body shots. His work did not go unnoticed.
“We watched a lot of film on this guy,” Kingsbury said. “We knew he had great body shots, but until you get in there, you never really know what a guy is packing. He’s devastating.”
All three rounds were close and competitive, as the sculpted 6-foot-4 Kingsbury used his considerable length to keep Maldonado (18-4, 1-1 UFC) at bay with jabs, front kicks and straight rights. Timely takedowns were a nice weapon, too. Maldonado, who has more than 20 professional boxing matches under his belt, let his hands fly when the opportunities presented themselves. A picture-perfect two-punch combination in the third round left Kingsbury with considerable damage to his left eye. Even so, victory was his. The defeat snapped Maldonado’s 11-fight winning streak.
“I’m very happy I came away with the win,” Kingsbury said. “I’ve never been in a harder fight in my life.”
Cope Outworks Teammate O’Neil
Strikeforce veteran Chris Cope frustrated and controlled “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 13 teammate Chuck O’Neil with constant movement and a relentless output of various kicks and punches en route to a unanimous decision in a featured welterweight matchup.
All three cage-side judges scored it 30-27 for Cope (5-1, 1-0 UFC), who has won back-to-back bouts.
Cope stymied his opponent with a high work rate, as he kept his fists in O’Neil’s face throughout the 15-minute encounter. He emptied his tool bag, unleashing everything from standard low kicks and left hooks to spinning-heel kicks, Superman punches and spinning- back fists. O’Neil (8-4, 0-1 UFC), who entered his promotional debut on a three-fight winning streak, had nothing with which to respond.
“A lot of people growing up doubted me and told me I wasn’t a good enough athlete,” said Cope. “How do you like me now?”