‘The Carpenter’ returns to the lightweight division in Oklahoma City with the perfect blueprint for success.
In the Fox Sports 2 headlining preliminary bout for UFC Oklahoma City, Clay ‘The Carpenter’ Guida (32-17-0) attempted to devise the perfect blueprint to stop ‘The New Breed’ Erik Koch (15-4-0). However the return back to the UFC’s lightweight division would be a tall task for the aging veteran Guida, giving up seven years in age to the 28-year old Koch.
The former Strikeforce Champion, Guida, came out low and quick, but showed a patience not often demonstrated by the veteran. Both fighters committed to a methodical feeling out period over the first two minutes. Despite the overall lack of action over the first few minutes of the fight, both men stayed light on their feet.
As Guida went for the takedown, Koch stuffed the attempt but was pushed to the fence by Guida. Guida continued to try and fight the leg of Koch to score the takedown until he ultimately put Koch down to the mat. Koch brought it back to the feet quickly including a quick standing guillotine attempt that he quickly released. The opening round came to a close with each gladiator charging in close to each other. Unfortunately, the horn sounded before either could land decisively.
Koch came out for the second round attempting to land the jab early. As Koch moved backward Guida clipped ‘The New Breed’ and followed it up with a takedown. Guida smothered Koch as Guida used his body weight to try and tire out Koch and gain the advantageous position. The veteran savvy of Guida shined bright in his top position work over Koch; utilizing short, effective movements to position Koch wherever he wanted.
With just over a minute left, Guida used his shoulder to trap the head and arm of Koch to help improve position and cut off the airways of Koch. As the clock ticked away with thirty seconds left, Guida gained a full mount and rained down strikes upon a covering Koch. While the horn sounded, potentially saving Koch, Guida showed a dominance in round two that put Koch in a do or die finish situation heading into the final round.
Despite being on the bottom position through nearly the entire second, Koch came out in the third round still showing heart and gas left in the tank. Guida took Koch to the fence early in round three, but Koch worked to stand tall and stay standing as long as he could. Halfway through the round Guida scored the takedown once again and went right back to a dominant full mount. Guida finished the fight in similar fashion as the last with ground and pound work from the top.
As even Koch seemed to agree, the judges unanimously sided with Guida’s performance with scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-26. With a successful return to the UFC’s crowded lightweight division time will tell if ‘The Carpenter’ can build one last run to title hopes inside the octagon.