Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan
Leonard Garcia (15-7-1) vs. Nam Phan (16-9)
In a featherweight rematch, Phan looks to prove that his controversial split decision loss against Garcia was indeed the result of bad judging.
Garcia, 32, was submitted by Chan Sung Jung this past March. Since his back-to-back knockouts of Hiroyuki Takaya and Jens Pulver in 2008, the Texan is 3-4-1, though many observers thought he should have come out on the losing end of his fights against Jameel Massouh and George Roop, as well as his first encounters with Phan and Jung. Had those fights not gone his way, Garcia would actually be 0-8 in his last eight bouts.
In fact, UFC president Dana White thought Garcia’s win over Phan in their December 2010 meeting was so absurd, he still awarded Phan his win bonus.
A member of Greg Jackson’s squad in New Mexico, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt probably is the most one-dimensional fighter in the camp. Garcia possesses skills in all areas, but his game plan usually revolves around trading strikes with superior strikers.
Phan, 28, is coming off a unanimous-decision setback against Mike Brown at UFC 133 in August. Despite a 1-4 record in his last five appearances, Phan actually has showcased notable improvements since his earlier career bouts in Strikeforce.
A black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and karate, Phan is a decent prospect, though it remains to be seen if he can hang with the upper echelon of featherweights in the UFC.
Phan should be pleased, however, as he’s being matched with a fighter he knows he can beat. If Phan mixes up his stand-up assault and secures a takedown or two, he should prevail this time, though Garcia seems to have a magical touch with cage-side judges.
Verdict: Phan via decision