AXS TV Fights: Legacy FC 33 Preview

Leonard Garcia 3If it seems like it’s been a while since you’ve tuned in to an AXS TV MMA event, that’s because it has. The last card the organization put on was Legacy FC 32 back on June 20th, so nearly a month without ‘The Voice’ and Pat Miletich calling some Friday night MMA action is unusual these days. The channel returns tonight with Legacy FC 33 however, marking the third consecutive card the promotion has aired on AXS TV. If the previous two have been any indication, we should be in store for a quality night of fisticuffs. In the main event, former WEC title challenger and decision-stealer extraordinaire Leonard Garcia (18-11-1) puts his Legacy featherweight title on the line against Damon Jackson (8-0). Garcia hasn’t needed to rely on the judges since being cut from the UFC, picking up three consecutive wins all via stoppage. In December, he defeated solid prospect Kevin Aguilar by TKO in the first round for the Legacy title. He also has a first round submission and a third round TKO in the Legacy cage, as all facets of his game seem to be a bit tighter of late. If Garcia is able to derail another rising fighter here, it could be time for him to get another look in the UFC. Jackson has shown very solid wrestling and submission skills thus far in his MMA career, finishing all eight of his bouts, with six submissions to his credit. The nickname “Leech” is apropos, as once Jackson gets a fighter in a grappling situation, they seem to be stuck there until the round ends or he finds a submission. That style has found success against Garcia in the past, so it will be interesting to see if Jackson can put it to good use. Another former WEC title challenger is in the co-main event, as Marcus Hicks (10-3) comes off a two-year layoff to take on the Blackzilian’s Kamaru Usman (4-1). Hicks rode his dangerous guillotine choke to a WEC lightweight title shot against Jamie Varner back in 2008, but then proceeded to lose three straight and was cut from the promotion. He is on a two-fight win streak currently, but those wins date all the way back to April 2010. Usman has won three straight since falling to Alex Caceres’ brother Jose, and training with a top camp — and closely with Rashad Evans — has certainly helped develop his game. Fighting at welterweight, Usman will be at a massive height and reach advantage here, and should also be the better striker, so his takedown defense will be key as Hicks will want this on the floor. Evan Thompson (4-0) has fought his entire professional career in Legacy FC, and has looked impressive for the most part. Brother of UFC’s Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, Evan brings a dangerous striking game to the cage, although he hasn’t been quite as successful at garnering finishes. On the other hand, his opponent Victor Reyna (4-1) has finished his opponent in all four of his professional wins and looks to tip over the Thompson apple cart here. It will be a tall task for the diminutive Reyna, as Thompson will have significant height, reach and size advantages in this matchup. The remaining six fighters whose matches will be airing on AXS TV have a combined record of 30-9, so Legacy has put together a deep card here. Steven Peterson (10-4) has already picked up four wins under the Legacy banner, and another here could get him close to a title shot. Although he picked up submissions early in his career, Peterson seems to have rounded out his game as his last two victories have come via TKO. A finish may be hard to come by in this bout however as Johnny Ray Rodriguez (4-2) has only been stopped once. These fighters share three common opponents (Nelson Salas, Ray Rodriguez, and Ernest de la Cruz) with Peterson beating all three and Rodriguez falling against de la Cruz. If neither Peterson nor Rodriguez earns a title shot with their performance, perhaps Eli Tamez (7-0) will. The 28-year-old has been successful in all three of his previous trips inside the Legacy cage, and looks to make it four against Kory Vialet (4-1) who makes his promotional debut. Kicking off the televised portion of the card at 10pm ET, 38-year-old Melvin Jordan (2-1) will look to make it three consecutive victories against Andrew Parker (3-1). With this event being In Allen, Texas, just 45 minutes away from Jordan’s hometown of Grand Prairie, he’ll certainly have the crowd behind him to continue his run. Keep an eye out at for the betting lines on Legacy FC 33, which will be released later today. Don’t forget that UFC Fight Night 46 will be going down tomorrow from Dublin, Ireland as well, so there will be plenty of analysis from that card on the site.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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