Andrew Guisa waited a long time for this opportunity and he wasn’t going to allow a little adversity to get in his way.
Guisa made his MMA pro debut on Saturday night as fight night returned to the Bear River Casino after a two-year hiatus, and he did not disappoint, comfortably taking care of business against Richard Carsten at 170 pounds in the main event.
Preparations for the fight went well, according to Guisa, until a couple of weeks ago, when he contracted poison oak and had to suspend all physical activity for just under a week.
Guisa, however, did not let the setback derail his ambitions and came out looking sharp in front of a packed house.
“It was nice having the crowd go wild when my shots landed,” he said. “It felt great hearing that again.”
The former Eureka High wrestler, who fights out of the Lost Boys gym in Arcata, had planned on going pro back in 2020 but was forced to postpone the move because of the pandemic and he had not fought since August 2019.
But, according to his trainer Brian Wilson, Guisa put that unexpected delay to good use.
“He had a long layoff and he had a long time to prepare (to go pro), and it showed,” Wilson said. “He looked very calculated. He looked very efficient in his fight.”
Guisa won on a first-round TKO (ground and pound) and felt good about finally getting back in the cage for a competitive fight.
“It felt awesome,” he said. “I was a little nervous at first because of the long layoff, but as soon as I got in there everything felt natural.”
A good few days are about to get even better for the Humboldt County fighter, whose wife Casey is expecting their first child and was in the early stages of labor on Tuesday afternoon.
Guisa was one of five Lost Boys fighters in action at Saturday’s fight night, with an impressive return of four wins for the local gym.
Heavyweight Kaerron Corbett beat Henry Drake on a first-round TKO (doctor stoppage); Titus Balliet defeated Logan Stone (unanimous decision) at 150 pounds; Sean Stock won on a second-round TKO (ground and pound) at 170; and Sam Gonzalez lost on a second-round submission at 135.
Balliet, Stock and Gonzalez were all making their fight debuts, while Corbett improved his record to 2-1.
“Kaerron outclassed his opponent,” Wilson said. “He was the better grappler and he had better cage control.”
Balliet did not allow his lack of experience get in the way.
“He came out and he had an excellent fight against a guy that had more experience,” Wilson said. “He dominated. He put a clinic on.”
Stock, meanwhile, overcame some early adversity in his fight on his way to securing the win.
“Sean came out and he got tested,” Wilson said. “But he fought through the adversity and outgrappled that guy.”
Gonzalez also impressed his trainer despite the loss.
“That was probably the fight of the night,” Wilson said. “He just got outwrestled by an experienced grappler.”
Fight fans were also apparently happy to be back after the disappointment of the past two years, with the fight night selling out by Saturday morning, before an extra 200 standing room only tickets quickly sold out as well.
“It was great to be back,” said Wilson, who also promotes the event through Hard Fought Productions. “People were very gracious and they were coming up to us and telling us how great it was to have the fights back. People were very excited.”
Saturday’s event was the first of four fight nights planned for 2022, with the next event scheduled for June 18.
“We were really excited to be back as a promotion,” Wilson said. “And we’re happy the community is so supportive and that everyone is coming out to the event again.”