Legacy FC 26 Main Card Preview

LegacyFC 26On a rare occasion AXS TV will find itself in direct competition with the UFC for viewers this Friday night. With the UFC heading back to Australia for a Saturday matinee, the card will be airing on Friday night in North America, AXS TV’s normal timeslot. Still, with a later start time than most televised cards, the UFC event should be complete by the time the co- and main events roll around for Legacy. In that main event, Leonard Garcia (17-11-1) looks to continue his run of success since leaving the UFC, and potentially garner himself a return trip to the organization. He takes on undefeated Kevin Aguilar (8-0) for the organization’s vacant featherweight title. Both Garcia and Aguilar share recent victories over Rey Trujillo and Nick Gonzalez, so it will be interesting to see how they compare when faced with one another. Despite having five of his eight victories by TKO, Aguilar will likely find the majority of his success on the ground in this bout, where we’ve seen Garcia can be controlled. On the feet however, Aguilar struggled at times against the pressure of a fighter like Trujillo, and Garcia brings a similar style to the cage. This bout will answer whether the youngster can continue to improve, or if Garcia is bound for the UFC once again? The co-main event features a pair of exciting, young bantamweight prospects looking to establish a name for themselves. George Pacurariu (5-2) is coming off a loss by doctor’s stoppage in what was a very competitive fight his last time out. Over his past two fights in Legacy, he’s shown explosive striking to go along with powerful wrestling and a decision game. The one knock on him is that he seems to fade a bit, as the tide seemed to be turning in his last fight prior to the third round stoppage. Thomas de Almeida (14-0) is making his second appearance in the Legacy cage, and has been incredibly impressive thus far in his MMA career, finishing all 14 fights, 13 of them in the first round. Almeida comes from a Muay Thai background, and has trained with the likes of Chute Boxe and the Macaco Gold Team to hone those skills. Watching tape on Almeida, you quickly see how well he mixes in standing elbows and knees with his punches and kicks, and he packs tremendous power as evidenced by numerous one punch KO’s on his resume. If this stays on the feet, it should be an exquisite striking display, as both guys are comfortable in the pocket, but look for Pacurariu to take this to the ground if he feels uncomfortable standing. Featherweights Chris Pecero (9-5) and Raynaldo Rodriguez (4-2) are a pair of local prospects who enjoy throwing hands. Pecero has won five of his past six bouts, is the more well-rounded fighter and has faced a higher level of competition than Rodriguez, but at just 26 years old with only six pro fights, Rodriguez has plenty of room to make improvements in his game and potentially pick up a surprise victory here. Also in the bantamweight division, Patrick Ybarra (5-1) looks to rebound from a devastating KO loss at the hands of Damacio Page as he takes on Johnny Ray Rodriguez (3-1). Ybarra should have far more of an opportunity to get his impressive grappling game going in this bout, as Rodriguez also prefers to take things to the ground. It’s difficult to not give Ybarra the edge on the mat, since he’s shown a propensity to snatch armbars quickly and from nearly any position on the floor. The last time MMA fans saw Ryan Hollis (4-2), he was giving uber-prospect Henry Cejudo the toughest test of the Olympic gold medallist’s young career. Hollis was massive for a flyweight in that bout, and moves up to 135lbs here to take on Billy Buch (4-2). Both of these fighters like to grapple, although Hollis appears to be the more durable and well-rounded. Whether those factors can overcome the naturally bigger Buch remains to be seen. All of the action for Legacy FC 26 can be seen live on AXS TV starting at 10pm ET.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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Legacy FC 26 Main Event Play: Leonard Garcia (+100) vs Kevin Aguilar (-140)