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MMA: Garcia puts on dominant performance, hopes for UFC call

Albuquerque’s Steve Garcia celebrates his MMA win over Andrew Whitney on Friday night. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

ISLETA PUEBLO – Steve Garcia said he needed an “Oh snap” sort of moment to get the attention of the UFC.

If you blinked, you may have missed it.But it was most definitely there. Just ask Andrew Whitney.

Aggressively moving forward from the opening bell in the main event of Friday night’s Fresquez-JW Fight Night 5 main event at Isleta Resort & Casino, the 26-year-old Garcia caught a retreating Andrew “The Beast” Whitney with a two snap kicks. The second essentially ended the fight in the opening minute. But it wouldn’t officially be stopped by referee Aaron Olivares until the 3:27 mark of Round 2.

The win in the 140-pound catchweight fight gave Albuquerque’s “Mean Machine” Garcia the TKO victory, improving the former Bellator fighter to 9-3 as a professional mixed martial artist.

“Somebody get Dana White or Sean Shelby on the phone,” said Garcia, referring to the president and top match maker with the UFC. “Tell them I’m coming. … Just give me an opportunity.”

The Jackson-Wink MMA-trained Garcia thoroughly dominated Whitney (16-7), an MMA veteran out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who trains with American Top Team.

The kick to Whitney’s midsection led to Garcia taking him down and landing punches and elbows for the next four minutes of the first round. After a quick takedown in the second round, it was more of the same until the stoppage.

“I’d be a fool not to listen to these guys,” Garcia said after the fight, referring to coaches Mike Winkeljohn and Greg Jackson. “They’re the best coaches in the world.”

After the fight, Winkeljohn reiterated what he told the Journal of Garcia earlier in the week: When not fighting recklessly, and standing too tall, he has a shot to fight at the sport’s highest level.

“I believe in Steve Garcia,” Winkeljohn said.

CO-MAIN EVENT: After coming in overweight by more than 6 pounds above the agreed upon catchweight of 174 pounds, a constant theme in his fighting career, Jared “Nite Train” Gooden of Atlanta devastated JW’s Will “Brown Bomber” Santiago with a TKO 28 seconds into the fight. He dangerously pounded Santiago’s head into the mat repeatedly before the stoppage and then pointing at people booing him in the crowd. At one point he pointed at a woman and mimicking a pulling a trigger motion as she was calling him fat for not making weight.

In the cage before leaving, Gooden did say, “I want to apologize. I wasn’t professional. I missed weight.”

PRO CARD: Denver’s Andrew Yates won a split decision over FIT-NHB’s Sherwin “The Genius” Price, who falls to 5-1. Two cards were 29-28 for Yates and one 29-28 for Price, who appeared to dominate the third round when focusing on standing up and losing the first two on the ground. …

JW rising prospects Edwin Cooper (2-0) and Kenan Jackson (1-0) scored impressive first-round victories to start the professional card. Cooper won by TKO at 1:27 of the first round over Atlanta’s Antowuan Moseley (0-3). Jackson’s win came via a rear-naked choke submission at 2:57 in the first round.

HOLLY HOLM: Albuquerque’s own Holly Holm took to the cage between the amateur and pro cards, in the same building she made her professional boxing debut 17 years ago with the same coach (Mike Winkeljohn) and promoter (Lenny Fresquez) she has today.

As part of the celebration of Fresquez’s 25th anniversary year of promoting fights, Holm thanked him and all the dozens of people behind the scenes who help put on fights like Friday, she said.

Asked about her upcoming UFC bantamweight title fight in July at UFC 239 against Amanda Nunes, Holm wouldn’t release the game plan other than to say she plans to “Kick some ass.”

She left to the familiar Albuquerque fight night chant of “Holly! Holly!”

AMATEUR CARD: The amateur main event didn’t disappoint as Carlsbad’s Aric Montoya beat Jackson-Wink’s Dominic Yara (3-3) via TKO (punches) at 2:56 of the second round, just four seconds shy of being saved, at least for another round, by the bell.

It was Montoya who appeared to be saved by the bell at the end of the first round.

• In a rather unpopular referee stoppage vis technical submission (arm bar), Artesia’s Zac Rodriguez (1-1) beat Carlsbad’s Noel “Mafioso” Mayo (1-1).

• Despite trying to fight through a right knee injury, Santa Fe’s Pat Rodriguez could no longer stand when the referee stopped the fight, giving Kevin Moore (2-0), an airman from Clovis, the TKO (due to injury).

• JW’s Randy Baker (4-2) beat Ian Velasquez (2-2) via TKO (punches) with a first round stoppage (1:33).

• Carlsbad’s Manny Najera (2-0), representing FIT-NHB, made quick work of independent fighter Kinneth Brown (0-2) with a first round stoppage, winning by TKO via ground and pound punches.

• JW’s Lydia Parker Warren improved to 2-0 as an amateur, kicking off the night with a unanimous decision victory over Laura John (1-2) of Texas. Two judges scored the fight 30-27, with a third giving it a 29-28 score.

Full fight results

Fresquez-JW Fight Night 5
Friday, Isleta Resort and Casino

Pro card
• Main event, 140 pounds: Steve “Mean Machine” Garcia, (9-3) def. Andrew “The Beast” Whitney (16-7), TKO (punches), 3:27 rd 2
• 170 pounds: Jared “Nite Train” Gooden (14-3) def. Will “Brown Bomber” Santiago (9-7), TKO (punches), 0:20 rd 1.
• 150 pounds: Andrew “Golden Boy” Yates (10-2) def. Sherwin “The Genius” Price (5-2), split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
• 145 pounds: Edwin Cooper (2-0) def. Antowuan Moseley (0-3), TKO, 1:27 rd 1
• 170 pounds: Kenan Jackson (1-0) def. David Simpson (0-1), submission (rear naked choke), 2:57 rd 1

Amateur card
• 145 pounds: Ariz Montoya (5-3) def. Dominic Yara (3-3), TKO (punches), 2:56 rd 2
• 135 pounds: Zac Rodriguez (1-1) def. Noel Mayo (1-1), via technical submission (armbar), 1:00 rd 1
• 135 pounds: Kevin Moore (2-0) def. Pat Rodriguez (2-1), TKO (knee injury), 2:21 rd. 1
• 155 pounds: Randy Baker (4-2) def. Ian Velasquez (2-3), TKO (punches), 2:16 rd. 1
• 145 pounds: Manny  Najera (2-0) def. Kinneth Brown (0-2) via TKO (ground and pound), 1:33 rd. 1
• 125 pounds: Lydia Parker Warren (2-0) def. Laura John (1-3) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

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