BAMMA USA’s Badbeat 5 featured co-main eventers in similar positions: two UFC veterans who struggled in the big show, returning to action from year-long layoffs. Mike Guymon and Gabe Ruediger would both find their comeback opponents to be far tougher than expected, too, though their fortunes differed considerably Friday night at the Commerce Casino in Commerce, Ca.

The 37-year-old Mike Guymon had announced his retirement after his final UFC bout -- a submission loss to DaMarques Johnson in January 2011 -- and seemed focused on training fighters out of his Joker’s MMA n Lake Forest. Instead, Guymon returned to action, making his lightweight debut against Farmington, N.M.’s Cris Leyva, who gave Guymon all he could handle early on.

In round one, Leyva repeatedly thwarted Guymon’s attempts at initiating a ground battle, battering a lethargic-looking “Joker” on their feet with punch combinations and low kicks that nearly sent Guymon spinning. Bloodied and looking far more worn down going into the second, Guymon managed to change the tide of the bout when he successfully bull-rushed Leyva to the mat, repeatedly scrambling to keep his foe off his feet while pummeling him with punches.

Leyva’s gas tank soon emptied under the assault, and as Guymon mixed knees to the body and hammerfists into the equation, Leyva could do little more than desperately cling to Guymon’s legs between collapsing to the mat. Referee Mike Beltran would finally stop the beating at 4:10 of the second round, giving Guymon the TKO victory -- his first victory in nearly two years -- to improve his record to 13-5-1.

Dave Mandel

Ruediger went down the
tubes against Catlin.

Ruediger, meanwhile, looked well on his way to bouncing back from his layoff in the opening stanza of his lightweight bout with Scott Catlin, but round two was a different story for “Godzilla,” too. The TUF 5 cast member spent the vast majority of the round glued to the Alliance MMA rep’s back with a tight body triangle, securing the position through numerous rolls and buck attempts. Ruediger seemed to look almost exclusively for the rear naked choke, as he dropped few strikes and did little to vary his attack even as Catlin repeatedly thwarted the maneuver.

The lack of a finish would haunt Ruediger in the second, however, as a straight Catlin left stunned the UFC vet in the round’s opening seconds, sending him reeling. Catlin followed in close pursuit, dropping Ruediger with a looping left-right-left punch combination. Ruediger attempted to place his legs between himself and his opponent, but Catlin easily circled past, dropping hammerfists and then punches as Ruediger turtled, eventually forcing referee Luis Cobian to halt the bout 36 seconds in the frame. The third straight loss for Ruediger drops his career mark to 17-8, while easily the biggest win of Catlin’s career moves the Chula Vista, Ca., native’s meager MMA mark to 5-6.

WEC alum Chad George made short work of journeyman Shad Smith, taking the 12-year MMA vet down with a powerful double-leg takedown into side control before snatching a tight arm-triangle choke. Smith initially appeared to roll free of the submission, but George clung tightly to Smith’s side during the transition, eventually putting Smith to sleep for the technical submission at 1:56 into the opening round.

The third straight first-round stoppage for George since his Zuffa release moves his pro mark to 14-6.

Dave Mandel

Clark's spinning back elbow
delivered the goods.

Bodyshop Fitness Team’s Mychal Clark brought the crowd to their feet in the evening’s sole heavyweight bout, punishing the portly body of Josh Bennett before crushing his opponent’s nose with an impressive spinning back elbow that dropped Bennett in a heap. Referee Luis Cobian dove into action and saved Bennett from further punishment at just 2:36 of the first frame.

Local favorite and cancer survivor Chris Beal took an emphatic first-round knockout victory over Jose Morales in a bantamweight tilt. With the round winding down, Beal’s corner called for a planned last-minute rush that saw Beal slam Morales to the mat with a double-leg and follow up with a score of unanswered elbows. Referee Mike Beltran would eventually see enough, stepping in to call the bout at 4:44 of the opening round.

Joe Stevenson’s Cobra Kai pupil Joe Condon took a split decision over Ismael Gonzalez, punctuating the otherwise dull bout with a position-dominant third frame after a pair of closely contested rounds. Judges Ron McCarthy and John Newber saw the bout 29-28 for Condon, while Larry Landless dissented via a 29-28 Gonzalez score.

In a 129-pound catch-weight fight, Bobby Sanchez slammed his way out of one Jason Carbajal triangle choke only to succumb to a second attempt, going unconscious and prompting Mike Beltran to step in and award the technical submission victory to Carbajal at 3:05 of the opening frame.

Combat Submission Wrestling lightweight Eric Brown made quick work of Brandon Anderson, guillotining his foe for the tap only 20 seconds into the bout.

In the night’s opening bout, debuting Xtreme Couture lightweight Gil Guadardo defeated Chris Costello at 2:21 of the second round, dropping punches from back mount until referee Mike Beltran stepped in for the TKO stoppage.

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