5 of the best lightweight fights in MMA history

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez at TUF Finale 9: United States vs. United Kingdom

The TUF 9 finale was simply meant to be a stepping stone between two landmark events for the UFC. Prior to the season finale, UFC 99 had taken place only a week before and UFC 100 was just around the corner, with Brock Lesnar headlining the colossal event. 

Of course, as with most things that happen in MMA, when we least expect stellar cards, we get the most chaotic nights packed full of action than we have ever seen before. Such was the case at the Pearl Concert Theater in Las Vegas. 

In front of a mere two thousand people, a total of three fight of the night bonuses were handed out for what was then a first in the UFC. No fight was as deserving of the award as the main event between Clay Guida and Diego Sanchez.

At this point in their careers, Guida and Sanchez were well-known commodities and riding a huge wave of momentum. In fact, this was a lightweight title eliminator to see who would go on to face B.J Penn, at the time considered one of the best MMA fighters in the world. With neither man having had that elusive UFC title shot yet, it was clear they were both prepared to leave it all if it meant leaving the Octagon with their hands raised.

The second the fight began, we knew we were in for a classic. Sanchez set the pace, completely overwhelming Guida with combinations, knees, elbows, and whatever else he could throw at him. Guida somehow weathered the storm, although his face looked like it had just gone through 25 minutes of action and not two. Sanchez landed a crushing head kick to sit Guida down and almost out but he somehow survived AGAIN. 

Miraculously this fight went the whole distance, with Sanchez picking up a split-decision victory. It is probably much higher on other people’s lists and it makes sense. This is the only lightweight fight in the UFC Hall of Fame and is considered an all-timer, however, after the insane first round, the action of the fight lowers significantly. Guida controlled Sanchez on the ground in the second before both men were totally spent by the time the third rolled around, throwing carelessly but without much impact.

A historic fight and one that was destined to be a banger given the two fighters, it is no surprise to see Diego Sanchez or Clay Guida find themselves in a 'top five greatest fights of all time' list.