The bout may not sound as competitive as it looked on paper, but it was a closely-contested affair in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 39 in Abu Dhabi as Clay Guida earned a unanimous decision victory over Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Guida opened the first frame closing the distance, trying to press Kawajiri back. The Japanese fighter missed on a spinning back fist and seconds later, is dropped by a massive right hand from Guida. As Kawajiri scrambled, Guida managed to take Kawajiri's back, but wasn't able to land any strikes or submission attempts of significance.
Guida was able to get behind Kawajiri, but the Japanese fighter locked up a standing kimura, which he granby rolled into a full on armbar attempt. One slam attempt from Guida couldn't shake Kawajiri off and Guida was eventually able to snatch his arm free, where he immediately transitioned into the back of Kawajiri once again. Guida challenged it the second time by executing a high-crotch lift and dump, but Kawajiri didn't let go of the grip.
The two eventually separated where Kawajiri was able to secure a double leg takedown where, interestingly, Guida secured a kimura grip and sweep to end the first frame.
Kawajiri switches stances and missed on kick to start the second round, which enabled Guida to get in deep on his hips for a double leg takedown against the fence. Kawajiri used a kimura to roll through and get Gudia off of him, but again, Guida secured the takedown and won a second scramble off of another kimura attempt.
Guida drove Kawajiri into the fence and despite nearly being lifted, turned the corner for the takedown. Kawajiri was able to get to a hip and stand, leaving Guida to press Kawajiri into the fence to end the round.
By the third round, Guida changed things up in the early going, landing left hooks and push kicks early, forcing Kawajiri to shoot a double leg takedown from far outside. Guida stopped it early, but Kawajiri kept pressing forward into and against the fence with a triangle of Guida's foot. Guida's defense never relented, however, and he was eventually able to secure his foot free and stand.
Kawajiri whiffed on an overhand punch, allowing Guida to get behind Kawajiri. Guida was eventually able to get in front of Kawajiri and slam him to the mat, but had to escape a briefly tight guilltoine. Kawajiri threatened briefly with a heel hook in transition, but Guida escaped them, and ended the bout from a cradle secured in side control, banging knees to the side of Kawajiri's body.
Ultimately, the judges scored it 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 in favor of Guida, giving the American the unanimous decision win. With the victory, Guida moves to 31-14 in his pro career while Kawajiri slides to 33-8-2.