Diego Sanchez and Clay GuidaDiego Sanchez and Clay Guida delivered on their Fight of the Year hype, engaging in a three-round war in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale on Saturday that saw Sanchez edge Guida by split decision on the judge’s scorcards.

The fight opened with a flurry and rarely slowed, as Sanchez battered Guida in the opening seconds with a flurry of punches and knees that appeared as though they could end the fight. The iron-chinned Guida survived the early onslaught to deliver punishment of his own in rounds two and three, but it was Sanchez’s dominant opening frame, head kick knockdown, and cut-opening elbows from the bottom that were enough to earn him the win and put him in contention for a lightweight title shot.

More from MMA Frenzy

The rest of the card failed to disappoint either as Chris Lytle and Kevin Burns traded blows in a bout that deserved Fight of the Night before being upstaged by Sanchez and Guida, Joe Stevenson looked impressive in topping Nate Diaz by unanimous decision in a technical battle, and welterweight James Wilks and lightweight Ross Pearson were crowned The Ultimate Fighter 9 champions with victories on the Spike-televised main card.

After three quick stoppage victories by Jason Dent, Nick Osipczak, and Tomasz Drwal to start the event, the prelimiary card was marred by a duo of controversial decisions as Brad Blackburn edged Edgar Garcia and Melvia Guillard topped Gleison Tibau.

The event’s official results were:

  • Diego Sanchez def. Clay Guida via split decision (28-29, 29-27, 29-28)
  • James Wilks def. DaMarques Johnson via submission (rear naked choke) — Round 1, 4:54
    TUF 9 Welterweight Final
  • Chris Lytle def. Kevin Burns via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Ross Pearson def. Andre Winner via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
    TUF 9 Lightweight Final
  • Joe Stevenson def. Nate Diaz via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Melvin Guillard def. Gleison Tibau via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Brad Blackburn def. Edgar Garcia via split decision (29-28, 28-28, 29-28)
  • Tomasz Drwal def. Mike Ciesnolevicz via TKO (strikes) — Round 1, 4:48
  • Nick Osipczak def. Frank Lester via submission (rear naked choke) — Round 1, 3:40
  • Jason Dent def. Cameron Dollar via submission (anaconda choke) — Round 1, 4:46

[Pictured: Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida]