Those who doubt Clay Guida often walk away with egg on their face.
The former Strikeforce champion made a triumphant return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division -- he had spent his previous seven bouts at 145 pounds -- with a unanimous decision over Erik Koch at UFC Fight Night “Chiesa vs. Lee” on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. All three judges sided with Guida: 29-28, 29-26 and 30-26. The 35-year-old Team Alpha Male rep entered the cage as a +274 underdog, per BetDSI.com.
“The Carpenter” executed multiple takedowns and mauled Koch (-349) on the mat, utilizing shoulder strikes, elbows and short punches. According to FightMetric data, Guida outlanded the talented but oft-injured Roufsport standout by a staggering 133-17 margin. It was his first win in more than two years.
Guida was not the only underdog to shine. Fellow journeyman Tim Boetsch (+130) took care of business against an overweight Johny Hendricks, as he stopped “Bigg Rigg” with punches 46 seconds into the second round of their co-main event. It was a homecoming of sorts for Hendricks (-160), an Ada, Oklahoma, native who was a four-time NCAA All-American wrestler and two-time national champion at Oklahoma State University. It did not go well for him.
Boetsch controlled much of the first round with kicks to the body, head and legs, dodging quick but errant left hands from his counterpart. Early in the second, he dazed Hendricks with a head kick and let fly with a volley of power punches, a stream of unabated right uppercuts prompting the stoppage. Boetsch, 36, has won three times in his past four starts, losing only to Ronaldo Souza.
Meanwhile, Felice Herrig continued to prove the skeptics wrong, as she earned a unanimous decision and handed Justine Kish her first professional defeat in a women’s strawweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it for Herrig (+140): 30-26, 30-26 and 29-27. The Team Curran export struck for two takedowns, passed guard an eye-popping 15 times and outperformed Kish (-170) in the total strikes department by a 131-50 count. Herrig has rattled off three consecutive victories since her April 2015 loss to Paige VanZant.
Finally, the MMA Lab’s Jeremy Kimball wiped out Josh Stansbury with first-round punches in their undercard pairing at 205 pounds. Kimball (+118) decked the East Liverpool, Ohio, native with a standing right hammerfist and followed him to the canvas, where he kept the punches coming until referee Mario Yamasaki called for the stoppage 1:21 into Round 1. Stansbury (-150) has suffered back-to-back defeats since he pocketed a majority decision over Cory Hendricks in his promotional debut at “The Ultimate Fighter 23” Finale in July.