Maynard tops Guida in split decision in UFC bout
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Waiting for the decision, Gray Maynard smacked himself on each side of the face a few times to rile up the crowd.
At last, some hitting.
Clay Guida danced and dodged his way around the octagon for five rounds and it cost him a few thousand fans and points on the scorecard. Maynard beat Guida by split decision to win a lackluster lightweight bout and the main event of the UFC card.
Maynard won 48-47 on two of the scorecards Friday night. Guida won the other 48-47.
"That fight sucked," UFC President Dana White said. "I don't know how to expand on it any more."
Guida repeatedly stalled and gestured toward Maynard, even pointing at his braided hair — doing just about everything but attack. He was even warned by the referee in the fifth round to pick up a slow pace that had the crowd booing through most of the last two rounds.
"It took me two rounds just to know, I think this guy is going to do this the whole fight," Maynard said. "I was here to work, let's work."
Maynard landed a series of rights early in the fifth to finally snap the fight out of a funk and perhaps tilt the scorecard in his favor.
Maynard bounced back from the first loss of his MMA career. He had a draw and a loss to Frankie Edgar in his last two fights and called out Edgar again after beating Guida.
Guida said his game plan was to be "unpredictable."
"He hits like a Mack Truck," Guida said. "I didn't want to be there for too much of it."
In other bouts on the main card, Cub Swanson stopped former "The Ultimate Fighter" winner Ross Pearson via TKO in the second round; Brian Ebersole defeated TJ Waldburger by unanimous decision; and Sam Stout topped Spencer Fisher by unanimous decision.
The 12-bout card kicked off a packed weekend for UFC. White was set to catch a flight to Brazil when Friday's card ended for UFC 147. Wanderlei Silva takes on Rich Franklin in the main event of the pay-per-view card Saturday night in Brazil.
New Jersey was one of the first states that truly embraced UFC, and White has credited cards at the Trump Taj Mahal for helping the Zuffa-owned version of the company grow into a heavyweight in the sports world.
The organization moved up from the state's casinos to holding UFC 32 in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford. UFC returned in May to East Rutherford for the organization's third major network card on Fox.
UFC on FX was the first sport sporting event held at Revel Resort casino's Ovation Hall and marked the world's top MMA promotion return to Atlantic City for the first time since UFC 53 in 2005.
More than 5,000 fans packed the arena and saw a solid card until a slow main event.
"I thought Guida was coming to fight," Maynard said. "The stuff got old."
Guida's Troy Polamalu-like locks were braided and ponytailed for the first time after Maynard argued the lengthy curls were a distraction. Maynard's camp filed a complaint to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board and Guida agreed to modify the hairdo.
"Did you guys really think I would cut off my hair??? (hash)HELLNO," Guida posted on Twitter a few hours before the fight.
The New Jersey crowd that started hot for Guida and chanted his name booed the fighters after the first two dull rounds. Guida did little but dance in the ring and neither fighter attempted a takedown.
One fan shouted, "Do something!" before the start of third.
Maynard got the hint in the third and attacked, briefly pinning Guida against the cage and smacking him with a right. But the rest of the round saw Guida duck and dodge and prance around the octagon. Maynard even threw up his arms at Guida as if to say, "let's fight."
The crowd turned on Guida and started a "Maynard" chant without the thumping sounds of punches and kicks to drown them out.
White trashed the fight on Twitter and said he was "booing." He said after the fight Maynard should have won by unanimous decision.
"You can't win a fight by running around in circles," White said. "That's not how you win a fight."
Maynard finally gave a jolt to a lackluster fight in the fourth when he extended two middle fingers toward Guida and repeatedly kneed him. They started jawing at each other, and Guida finally tried a takedown. Maynard pounced and turned into a submission choke move until Guida eventually slammed his way free.
Guida ran around the ring in celebration after the bout and patted Maynard on the back.
Maynard was agitated by the posturing — and all smiles once the decision was announced.