UFC Fight Night 83 Breakdown: Alex Garcia vs Sean Strickland

SeanStricklandPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at UFC Fight Night 83 preliminary headliner pitting welterweight Alex Garcia against Sean Strickland. Both fighters are coming off July 2015 victories against veteran opposition. This is an important contest between two up and coming fighters.   Alex Garcia (Record: 13-2, +105 Underdog, Fighter Grade: C ) “The Dominican Nightmare” Alex Garcia holds a 3-1 record in the UFC dating back to a first round finish of Australian Ben Wall in December 2013. He’s been fighting of renowned Canadian MMA gym Tristar for the duration of his run in the UFC. The lone blemish on his UFC record came against surging welterweight Neil Magny. That was a bout in which Garcia blew his ACL and meniscus in the first round. The injury kept Garcia out of action for nearly a year. If he hadn’t hurt his knee, Garcia could very likely have been on a long winning streak in the UFC. A 28-year old Dominican fighting out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, he has traditionally been a finisher with 10 of his 13 wins coming before the final bell. However his last three fights in the UFC have gone to decision. Garcia has drawn comparisons to Hector Lombard due to his top-heavy physique in what otherwise would be an undersized fighter for the weight class. Bottom line, he may be small in stature, but he has heavy hands and his athletic gifts make him a formidable opponent. Conditioning has been an issue for Garcia in some of his fights. If an opponent can make him work early, Garcia is vulnerable to being  outclassed as a fight progresses.   Sean Strickland (Record: 16-1, -125 Favorite, Fighter Grade: ) Sean Strickland entered the UFC as one of the better middleweight prospects in recent times. He won his first fight in the organization in impressive fashion against Bubba McDaniel. Later on, he transitioned to welterweight. In his welterweight debut, he lost a respectable decision to Santiago Ponzinibbio. In his last bout, he dominated Brazilian Igor Araujo stuffing takedowns and peppering his opponent on the feet. While Strickland’s resume of victories is not the greatest, he’s a fighter on the rise and Alex Garcia would be the best win of his career. The 24-year old California native has been training in mixed martial arts since the age of 14 and began fighting professionally at just 16 years old. The Millennia MMA product has very good size for the division with a long reach of 76 inches. He’s a well-balanced fighter with solid fundamental striking. His jab is generally on point and tough for opponents to deal with. His grappling game is underrated and he’s very capable of scoring submissions on the mat. He showcased that in his victory over Bubba McDaniel. Output has been an issue for Strickland during his career. While he possesses good technique, he can find himself in close fights due to periods of inactivity in his bouts.   Matchup In a fight card that has been ravaged by injuries, this is certainly a bout that promises intrigue and is meaningful to both fighters. Perhaps the only fight on the card with two rising prospects, this is a key matchup for each fighter as the winner will earn himself the biggest win of his career and opens himself up to fights against more established fighters.  In terms of their skill sets, this fight ultimately comes down to distance. Strickland is the much longer and rangy fighter. He’s had success in the past with his accurate jab and controlling distance against opponents. Garcia is one of the more explosive fighters in the division, but one really has to wonder how much success he will have landing strikes in this bout. Strickland has never been finished in his career and it’s doubtful he will be in this fight either. I expect this fight to be mainly contested on the feet as neither fighter will have much success working for takedowns. In the end, look for the younger, longer fighter in Strickland to land more on the feet and take home a decision.

Written by Jay Primetown

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