As he prepares for his third career appearance on a season finale of The Ultimate Fighter, Clay “the Carpenter” Guida has a definite appreciation for the Pearl at the Palms, where he will face Anthony “Showtime” Pettis on Saturday night as part of the LIVE season finale of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team Dos Santos.
“Small venues are awesome,” Guida said on Thursday. “It feels like you’ve got your own little concert out there. It’s different than fighting in the big venues the pay-per-views are in – which I really enjoy. Hopefully, it’ll be my first win at the Pearl.”
As entertaining as Guida’s exploits at the Pearl have been – his battle with Diego Sanchez two years ago was named Fight of the Year by multiple outlets – they haven’t been successful, as he’s lost to both Sanchez and Roger Huerta. The Carpenter is hoping to change his fortunes on Saturday night against Pettis, and a successful outing has much more to do with a victory than with entertainment value, even though the fight has been earmarked going in as a potential Fight of the Year.
“To me the most important bonus check is my win bonus. Every time Anthony and I step into a cage it’s going to be thought of as a possible Fight of the Year candidate. So I don’t think we think about that, at least I don’t anyway. I go out there, we’ll have a good time out in the cage. We’ll have fun. We put on a show for the fans and everything else just falls into place. So like I said, getting my hand raised is paramount. I’m 0-2 in this venue and it’s time to kick the demons out.”
Of course, when it comes to kicking, it’s hard to hold a candle to Pettis. The Milwaukee native set the entire MMA world abuzz in December when he landed the famous “Showtime kick” on Ben Henderson in the fifth round of their WEC Lightweight Championship bout in Phoenix. That fight secured Pettis’ place as the final WEC Lightweight Champion as the promotion merged with the UFC, and it was supposed to earn him a title unification bout with the winner of the Frankie Edgar-Gray Maynard bout at UFC 125. Obviously, it hasn’t quite worked out that way thanks to the split decision draw, and with their scheduled rematch pushed back by injuries, it’s unclear if or when Pettis will get his shot at the title. All Pettis knows, however, is that he has to concentrate on the task at hand and take care of Clay Guida.
“I’m not really looking past Clay right now,” Pettis said. “I mean, if I win the Clay fight, who knows what’s going to happen? I thought after I won with Henderson I was going to get a title shot but that didn’t work. So I’m going to stay ready and whoever they throw at me next I’ll be ready to fight them as well.”
Likewise, Guida is focusing on the fight in front of him rather than the one behind it, knowing that the only thing he has any control of with regards to the title picture is what happens in the Octagon on Saturday night.
“I think a dominating victory on Saturday night will definitely look better in the eyes of Dana White and Joe Silva and the UFC,” Guida said, “but…Saturday night will tell the tale.”
As for the other players in the title picture, including Jim Miller, Guida said, “There is a lot of stuff going on and unfortunately it’s going to be a little delayed with the injuries of Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. But the most Anthony and I can do is go out and put on a great show, which is I know exactly what we’re going to do.”
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