Gritty lightweight Leonard Garcia will return to the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 Finale on June 23 against a competitor on the current season of the reality series, according to FightNetwork.com.
He did not name his opponent.
Garcia burst onto the UFC scene back in April at UFC 69 — albeit in a losing effort to Roger Huerta via unanimous decision. It was the “Fight of the Night,” and in the post-fight press conference UFC President Dana White singled out the Greg Jackson product for his solid effort.
Here’s a snip from the news bit:
“Though he lost a unanimous decision, Garcia won over fans with his tenacity and toughness as he absorbed Huerta’s best shots, at times meeting his opponent’s strikes with smiles. Many consider it a frontrunner for Fight of the Year.”
Even though Garcia and Huerta went toe-to-toe for most of the night, Garcia has predominantly been successful with his submission game, winning more than 75 percent of his fights via tap out.
It will be interesting to see if the UFC puts him in the cage with another fighter like Huerta who prefers to keep the fight upright in an attempt to recapture that same magic.
This has the potential to be a solid bout … let’s just hope it’s someone who is still in the running (Diaz, Hill, Gamburyan, Lauzon, Maynard or Wiman).
We’ll keep you updated on this match up, which is probably under lock and key since the show is still ongoing and the UFC wants to avoid potential spoilers at all costs (unless of course Wayne Weems, Andy Wang or one of the other already eliminated finalists is the guy tapped to face Garcia).
The TUF 5 Finale at The Palms Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, is headlined with the rematch between coaches — and former champions — BJ Penn and Jens Pulver. For the latest TUF 5 Finale line up click here.