After waiting nearly half the year for his first bout of 2019, bantamweight Steve Garcia Jr. was able to impress when he had his first fight of the year this past May versus Andrew Whitney at JacksonWink Fight Night 5.
Three and a half minutes in the first round of his bout with Whitney, Garcia took full control of the fight and picked up a TKO win.
“(Whitney) likes to throw and hits hard, but it worked really good for me,” Garcia told MMAWeekly.com. “I used my range and use my distance and hurt him real early of the first round and it really kicked off the momentum of the fight. We had a few exchanges, and I dropped him with a left hook, and ground-and-pounded him.
“I was very successful in that fight and was very happy about it; especially against somebody with a big record. I’m always interested in big name fighters, and anybody willing to take a fight, just to be able to even get me to the point where the UFC would give me an opportunity. I was happy about that.”
When it comes to his game, Garcia has made some changes over the past year that he feels have clearly paid dividends in his most recent couple of bouts.
“I’m absolutely tweaking my style a little bit,” said Garcia. “We’re working on different things. We changed my style pretty much last year and we’ve been working on our stuff and it’s paying off. My last two fights are wins. So far it’s been working and it’s been a success.”
On Tuesday in Las Vegas, Garcia (9-3) looks to secure the next phase of his career when he takes on Desmond Torres (7-1) in a bantamweight bout at Dana White’s Contender Series 2019, Week 9.
“He’s a game opponent,” said Garcia of Torres. “I’m happy to fight people that are confident and will mix it up. I think he’s going to come out guns blazing. He’s going to try to get a contract just like I’m going to try to get a contract.
“I think my length, my reach and my range and my height, everything is going to be a problem for him. Slowly I’ll impose my will on him and he’ll break. He’s fought some good guys, but he hasn’t fought the caliber that I have, and I feel like that will be a big advantage for me in this fight.”
While Garcia understands the potential impact a win on Tuesday could have on his career, he’s not going to let the pressure get to him, but instead focus on doing the best he can and see what comes of it.
“Whatever happens, happens, and at the end of the day I’m going to put in the work, fight to the best of my abilities, and see what happens,” said Garcia. “But yeah, I’m hoping by the end of 2019 I’ll be in the UFC. That would be great.”