Prospect in the Spotlight (Jan 17-18): Steve Garcia Jr.

Introduction

Friday, January 17th, American featherweight prospect Steve Garcia Jr. will be in action for LFA, where he will be headlining opposite Jose Mariscal. He will be looking for a crack at the UFC, as Garcia looks to regain the UFC’s attention after missing weight on Dana White’s Contender Series (where he won, but was not offered a contract). He represents Jackson-Winklejohn MMA, a top camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Boxing: Watch Garcia box in an MMA bout. He’s a very technically gifted striker that does all the little things right. The combos he throws with his hands are a thing of beauty. He works the body well, which helps slow the attack of his opponent. One of the prettiest strikes he throws is his uppercut, which is effective and powerful. He has very good knockout power and even if he doesn’t score a knockout with one punch, he has great killer instinct. When he smells blood in the water, he goes for the kill and gets it most of the time. Outside of punch throwing, he has good intangibles in terms of footwork. He cuts the cage off well and throws good feints, which help set up his other strikes.

Tough Schedule/Tough Man (Seasoned): Garcia is 28, but he’s a seasoned vet at this point. That’s a major advantage for him, as he’s fought under the bright lights and has fought against some very tough opponents. As mentioned, he’s a finisher which shows how tough he is offensively. Defensively, he’s tough as well, as he can absorb big shots from opponents. He’s fought for Bellator seven times, so his upbringing was not an easy one. He has quality experience; he hasn’t just been crushing cans. Two of his three losses come to big names: former Bellator champ Joe Warren and UFC fighter Aalon Cruz. However, his last three fights are all wins against skilled competition: Desmond Torres, Andrew Whitney and Abel Cullum. He’s legit and has a legit resume.

Needs Improvement

Counter Wrestling/Submission Defense: There are not a lot of holes in Garcia’s game, but everybody could always use improvements. It’s not that Garcia has bad counter wrestling or submission defense. In fact, it’s pretty good. However, he’s such a good striker, that guys look to get him down and are sometimes successful. His only loss by a finish was a rear-naked choke loss to the aforementioned Cruz, who outgrappled Garcia thoroughly. Against wrestler Joe Warren, he was taken down a few times. That was a couple years ago, so there’s a high possibility he’s closed the gap on that “weakness.” That’s especially because he runs with a world class team like Jackson-Winklejohn MMA.

Outlook

UFC Midcarder: Garcia obviously proved he’s UFC ready with his Contender Series performance; also obvious is that he would have got that contract had he made weight. Now, he’s up a weight class and ready to prove himself again to Dana White in a company that is a clear feeder to the UFC: the LFA. It’s possible Garcia won’t be as great at 145 as he was at 135. However, with more weight and energy from less of a weight cut, I think he will be just as good, if not better. He’s fought at 145 before, but that was before he started to peak where he’s at. I think Garcia will have a solid UFC career.

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