Chris “El Guapo” Gutierrez was flawless in his return to the UFC octagon after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last fall. Gutierrez kicked off the first ever UFC show from the Apex center in Las Vegas with a second round TKO via leg kicks.

The finish also landed the Factory X product among a short list in UFC history. Gutierrez produced the eleventh leg kick finish ever in the promotion. The 29-year-old looked as crisp as a young Edson Barboza with his kicking game, which is noteworthy due to the fact that Barboza is the only fighter in the 26 years of UFC events to finish two fights by leg kicks. 

This was a striking clinic that was flat out surgical. Gutierrez outlanded Vince Morales at an incredible 5:1 ratio that saw 60 significant strikes find their mark. With only eight total strikes landed by Morales, Gutierrez walked away clean from the contest without sustaining any real damage in the fight. 

One of the most impressive aspects of his performance was the patience. Gutierrez showed the composure and poise of a high-level veteran to pick and choose his shots en route to the finish in the ninth minute of the fight. Morales was visibly hurt early and often in the fight while scoring two knockdowns and Gutierrez chose not to rush in risking a potential mistake. He chose to use his range and movement to set up striking angles that produced damage in which Morales simply did not have an answer for. 

Make no mistake about it, Morales is a tough warrior who never looked for a way out despite facing extreme adversity. 

The Factory X fight team led by Coach Marc Montoya follows the fundamental principle of “chop wood, carry water”. Well, Gutierrez certainly chopped wood on Saturday night. 

What’s next for “El Guapo”? He has been vocal about wanting to fight Andre Ewell ever since Ewell scored one of the most controversial decisions of the year against Gutierrez’s teammate Jonathan Martinez back in February at UFC 247. Ewell is in the process of recovering from a hand injury sustained in the Martinez fight. 

 -Jordan Kurtz is a founding member of Comments From The Peanut Gallery and The MMA Plug and can be followed on Instagram at @CommentsFromThePeanutGallery and @TheMMAPlug303