UFC Kansas City: Rafa García Tenderizes Clay Guida’s Face to 30-27 Sweep

Clay Guida and Rafa Garcia, UFC Kansas City
Clay Guida and Rafa Garcia, UFC Kansas City ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

Man of the people Clay Guida stepped into the octagon at UFC Kansas City for his thirty-fifth UFC fight, fourth most in promotion history. At age 41 he is still going strong after beating Scott Holtzman by split decision in his last fight. This time out, Guida faced off against young upstart Rafa Garcia, who has one-fifth as many UFC fights.

Both fighters have a similarly well-rounded fighting style, but the fans in Kansas City would be rooting for Guida because of his history of amazing fights in the cage and his likeable personality.

Both men came out swinging hard from the very opening bell, but neither gained a clear upper hand. Rafa was largely pressuring Clay backwards but Guida kept moving constantly, circling towards the lead hand and avoiding many of the strikes sent his way. No real big moments happened for either man in the entire first round, but Garcia kept touching Guida with sharp straight shots while Clay had trouble landing much cleanly.

Clay Guida came out in round two trying to press forward but the cage-craft of Rafa Garcia quickly let him gain the front foot. Garcia stayed well ahead on the strike count and his jab kept popping the face of Clay. Guida tried a takedown early on but Garcia defended the single leg shot with ease and got back to popping him with the jab.

The final round was more of the same except Clay Guida tried to bite down on his mouthpiece and press forward to get at his opponent, as he seemed to be behind on the scorecards. But the clean, technical jab of Rafa Garcia kept pumping out and sticking Guida. That, along with his straight right hand, were just interrupting every action of Guida and tenderized his face. With forty seconds left in the round Garcia shot a takedown but Guida defended it well against the fence. Rafa Garcia kept the strikes going at a high pace until the bell, really hunting for a finish late.

The toughness of Clay Guida was the only thing which let him see the final bell. The judges scorecards were in no doubt as all three judges had it 30-27 for Rafa Garcia. Clay Guida pulled a little prank on viewers by starting to take his gloves off as if he was retiring, but when DC brought the mic to him to ask him if he was retiring he asked the crowd what they think, and then told DC, “I tricked you guys, I’m not walking away yet,” before giving massive props to Rafa Garcia and offering to trade gloves with the younger man.

Official Result: Rafa Garcia def. Clay Guida by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)