UFC 237 Results: Strong Start for BJ Penn Not Enough, Clay Guida Wins Decision

UFC Oklahoma City fighter Clay Guida
Clay Guida Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

BJ Penn started well but faded quickly against Clay Guida at UFC 237 on Saturday, losing his seventh straight fight in the UFC in the process.

Clay Guida has been around seemingly forever. BJ Penn, a UFC Hall of Famer and former two-division champ, has been as well. However, Guida has managed to pick up enough wins to stay relevant even at 37 years old, while Penn — well plenty has been written about Penn’s struggles to find a win, or even walk away from the sport of mixed martial arts gracefully.

The lightweight pairing opened up the televised prelims at UFC 237 in Rio on Saturday night. Guida might, in fact, be the only other lightweight currently in the UFC to have been active in the promotion when Penn was in his prime.

Guida went right to work off the opening bell, looking for an uppercut and hitting a leg kick. Penn circled, swung, and looked for his own uppercut. A left hand landed for Penn, forcing Guida back. Guida, of course, stayed active, using that herky-jerky style, then firing a head kick that was only partially blocked. ‘The Carpenter’ Guida also worked on attacking the lead leg of Penn, while Penn held center. He cut the angles, refusing to chase but rather working the jab when Guida moved in. A left hook landed for Penn; a right missed, and Guida hit the leg again. Penn, however, finished the round on the attack.

Round two saw Guida landing a left early, but the fight remained close. Penn was up in head strikes, which was almost surprising given Guida’s inability to ever stand still. Guida’s leg kicks were having more of an impact as the round wore on, however. Guida worked to double up on his jab, and continued to fire head kicks, which Penn through half of the second had managed to avoid or block. With two minutes remaining in the round, Guida moved in for a high single, but Penn was able to fight him off. Back in the open, Penn landed a number of blows, while Guida again went to the leg. Then, a high kick seemed to graze Penn, hurting him enough for Guida to move in, and land a takedown at the end of the round. Penn, however, survived to the third.

Guida stormed out of the gate in the third, tagging Penn and backing him up. Guida landed another leg kick, an uppercut, and Penn was rocked! Penn looked exhausted, and Guida drove him into the fence, which may have actually been a boon for Penn. Then, as they broke apart, a right hand connected hard, dropping Penn. The Hawaiian was right back up, but with two minutes left in the fight, Penn was hurt, tired, and losing. Guida had him pressed up against the cage, working in the dirty boxing. Penn fired back, finding something left in the tank. It wasn’t enough, however; Penn would finish the fight, but once again, the victory was out of reach.

Where Penn goes from here — hopefully retirement — remains to be seen. He left the octagon Saturday without giving a post-fight interview.

Clay Guida def. BJ Penn by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)