As we head into another UFC Apex show this weekend, we take a look at one half of the main event, Chris Gutierrez.
‘El Guapo’ has had mixed fortunes so far in his UFC run to-date. Gutierrez entered the UFC through ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ despite his second round submission defeat in the final Raoni Barcelos back in 2018. His official debut, took place in March of 2019 as Gutierrez picked up his first victory on the undercard of ‘Wonderboy’ vs Pettis.
From that moment on, things were going pretty well. Seven fights later, Gutierrez had moved to 6-0-1 with a draw against Cody Durden the only blemish on an almost perfect UFC record. The reward for this… A main card fight against future hall of famer, Frankie Edgar. In NYC. At MSG. An opportunity that ‘El Guapo’ would grab with both hands… or rather… a knee. Gutierrez finished Edgar in the first round to send the greatly respected and loved legend into retirement.
Chris Gutierrez Vs Pedro Munhoz
The Chris Gutierrez train had officially left the station. He had just retired Frankie Edgar on a PPV main card at Madison Square Garden. Gutierrez, now hungry for more, signed to fight Pedro Munhoz. Munhoz was going through a torrid time, with 4 defeats, a victory and a no contest in his last six scheduled bouts.
On paper, it was a poor record and to the untrained eye, it would have appeared that this was good timing for Chris Gutierrez. However. For those of us who understand this sport, we looked at it very differently.
Yes, Munhoz had lost more than he had won of late but the caliber of opponent was significantly higher. There were wins over Rob Font, Jimmie Rivera and former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt. The defeats, soon to be champion Aljamain Sterling, mutual opponent Frankie Edgar and former champion’s and hall of famer’s Jose Aldo and Dominick Cruz. Add a sprinkling of sugar for the ‘No Contest’ against Sean O’Malley and you’ve got yourself quite the resume.
Munhoz was irritated by the O’Malley no contest and felt he was doing extremely well prior to the fight being halted from an eye-poke. So it is no surprise that he came with all guns blazing at Chris Gutierrez. Munhoz would be the one to get his hand raised and Gutierrez experienced his first official defeat as a UFC athlete.
More Than He Can Chew?
Chris Gutierrez has since bounced back from his defeat to Pedro Munhoz with a UD victory over Alatengheili. His confidence is clearly high once more as he replaces the injured Petr Yan to face number seven ranked Song Yadong. Song is an extremely entertaining fighter and will ask questions of Gutierrez, of that, there is no doubt.
Standout victories over Ricky Simon, Marlon Moraes and ‘Chito’ Vera have shown that Song can compete at the very highest level. His last defeat? It came from a doctor stoppage at the end of the fourth round against Cory Sandhagen.
There is a pattern here. Both Pedro Munhoz and Song Yadong have competed against a higher level of opponent in their careers to date that Chris Gutierrez has. Gutierrez does not therefore have the same level of experience at this stage of his career. Something which could come into play here. Gutierrez has shown that he is more than capable, he can beat a certain tier of fighter. If however, he is to get his hand raised this weekend, he will need to raise his game from what we have seen so far.
If he can, he will fire himself into the top 10, if not, he may find himself sitting as one of the gatekeepers to the bantamweight’s top fifteen.
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images