It wasn’t easy, but Steve Garcia secured a vicious ground and pound victory to kick off UFC Vegas 39 on Saturday from Las Vegas.
An early chop and a few wild trades saw Garcia get knocked down twice in the first round, but he recovered enough to drag Charlie Ontiveros to the ground and that’s where the momentum completely changed. Garcia blasted Ontiveros with his elbows to open a nasty cut near his eye in the first round, then dealt even more floor and pound penalties in the second round to secure a TKO finish.
The save came at 1:51 in the second round as Garcia celebrates his first UFC win.
“The winners don’t give up on their own,” Garcia said of surviving the early Ontiveros onslaught. “All I knew was I had to protect the chin. We fight to the end.
It was a savage fight from the start with Garcia and Ontiveros both looking for the knockout at the feet.
Unfortunately for Garcia, he had the worst trade after being planted on the canvas twice, but he managed to survive and hang on to the teardown to help him recover.
From there, Garcia was totally in control of Ontiveros with punches and elbows, including the gunshot that spattered blood on the floor of the Octagon.
Garcia had to deal with another close call in round 2, but this time he got the out, got into a set-up position, and then started raining punches until Ontiveros was clearly compromised. and can no longer continue.
After losing weight in a previous appearance in the UFC Contender Series, Garcia switched to lightweight and now expects to call the 155-pound division home as he advances his career at UFC.