Could this be the end of the line for "Bad Boy" Garcia? A true Featherweight scrap between Leonard "Bad Boy" Garcia and Max "Blessed" Holloway will be sandwiched in the middle of what on paper, is arguably the best Facebook preliminary card of all-time. Anyone who follows MMA knows who Leonard Garcia is. Max Holloway on the other hand is a young up and comer from Hawaii who is looking to get right into the thick of things at 145. A win over a big name like Garcia would do just that.
Leonard Garcia: 15-9-1 MMA, 2-5 UFC
Max Holloway: 6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC
What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Garcia: He's dropped four of his last five, and the fight he won before that against "Korean Zombie" could've gone either way. The reason Leonard Garcia still has a job is because people think his stand and bang, gas out, swing and a miss style is exciting.
Holloway: The "Blessed" one has been very impressive in his three-fight UFC career so far. His lone loss to Dustin Poirer isn't really anything to get up in arms over. Holloway, along with Poirier, remains one of the most promising young fighters in the sport today.
Garcia: Jens Pulver, Hiroyuki Takaya, Chan-Sung Jung, Nam Phan. The wins over Jung and Phan were highly controversial split decisions that have both been avenged since.
Holloway: Justin Lawrence, Pat Schilling
Garcia: The 33-year-old 4-time fight of the night winner is a big time +285 dog, and rightfully so. Garcia has become one of those "well, he could get the win if he can KO him early" guys. These days he's bound to be a +250 or over against just about everyone at 145.
Holloway: -375. That sounds about right. Garcia may be the more experienced guy here, but if Holloway comes in with anything resembling a game plan he should be just fine.
What's at Stake?
Garcia: His UFC career. If Garcia get's finished by Holloway and doesn't put on another one of his fight of the night performances it's likely the end of his run under the Zuffa banner. Strangely enough, a win gets him a top tier opponent next solely because of his name recognition.
Holloway: A victory keeps the 21-year-old right on track toward the slow climb. I think the Poirier fight was a little too much too soon for Holloway. I'd like to see him fight another middle tier guy next should he defeat Garcia. Now if he losses to "Bad Boy," that stunts his growth quite a bit. His age, and devotion to the game would likely help him recover quickly though.
I like Holloway to finish this one in the 2nd round via submission. He'll avoid the power of Garcia early because he simply understands what's at stake here. If Holloway wants the takedowns, it's there. If he can avoid Garcia's big shots early and take him into the later rounds standing, it's a cake decision. There are just so many ways to beat Leonard Garcia, and Max Holloway has the right tools to do it nine times out of ten.