Clay Guida looked like he wouldn’t make it out of the first round only to stage one of the craziest comebacks in recent history by choking out Leonardo Santos at UFC Vegas 44.
A nearly body kick had Guida reeling against the cage as Santos unleashed a flurry of strikes as he did just about everything possible to get the stoppage. Somehow Guida not only survived but he looked re-energized as he came back at Santos with the type of ferocity that has defined his entire career.
After landing a takedown in the second round, Guida advanced to take the back before wrapping up a nasty rear-naked choke that forced Santos to tap out. The end came at just 1:21 in the second round.
“One word: wrestling, baby,” Guida said about how he survived the early onslaught from Santos. “Wrestling got us here, wrestling’s going to keep us here. He had me hurt real, real bad. We were able to get the submission against a multiple time world champ black belt. We needed that one.”
Santos got out to a blistering start with that body kick that had the veteran lightweight in trouble as the Brazilian rushed forward to look for the finish. With Guida hurt, Santos was unloading with punches and hammer fists, just doing everything possible in order to put his opponent away.
Guida kept doing just enough to survive and then Santos uncorked a huge knee that once again put “The Carpenter” on the canvas. Still, Guida kept moving and grabbing onto legs to prevent a stoppage until he could finally get away from Santos to reset in the center of the cage.
Remarkably, Guida recovered quickly while Santos was absolutely gassed after exerting all of his energy trying to put him away.
That led to Guida turning to his wrestling at the close of the first round and then again at the start of the second as he planted Santos on the ground while wasting no time to look for a dominant position.
As soon as Guida took the back, he wrapped his forearm under the chin and locked up the submission as Santos struggled to break free before tapping out to signify the end of the fight.
Just ahead of his 40th birthday, Guida picked up another impressive win as he continues to defy the odds while preparing to embark his 16th year with the UFC in 2022.