(What Leonard lacks in striking technique and conditioning, he more than makes up for with his unshakable sense of humor.)
Despite coming off a disappointing performance at WEC 51 in which he was outstruck to a split decision loss against Mark Hominick, former featherweight title contender Leonard Garcia will be one of the first 145-pounders to debut in the Octagon, when he meets Tyler Toner at the TUF 12 Finale (December 4, Las Vegas). The match will be Garcia’s first in the UFC since his 1-2 stint as a lightweight in 2007. Garcia is 1-2-1 in his last four fights in the WEC, with his only victory coming in a very questionable decision against Chan Sung Jung. Tyler Toner most recently dropped a decision against Diego Nunes at WEC 51. The TUF 12 finale takes place four weeks before the "official" debut of WEC talent at UFC 125, and 12 days before the WEC’s last event.
Speaking of the TUF 12 Finale, our guest-blogging friend Rich Attonito will reportedly take on Renzo Gracie product Dave Branch in a middleweight contest on the card. After being forced out of the competition on TUF 11 due to a broken hand, Attonito came back to shut Jamie Yager‘s big mouth at the TUF 11 finale, then outscored Rafael Natal at UFC Fight Night 22. Branch was the victim of a Gerald Harris body-slam KO in his Octagon debut at UFC 116, but rallied back to win a decision over Tomasz Drwal, also at UFC Fight Night 22.
In other booking news…
Matt "Meathead" Mitrione — officially 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Marcus Jones, Kimbo Slice, and Joey Beltran — will try to continue his hot streak at UFC Fight for the Troops 2 (January 22, Fort Hood). The TUF 10 heavyweight vet will reportedly meet the returning Tim Hague, who was released by the UFC in May after three consecutive losses, but then went on to score first-round knockouts of Zak Jensen and Travis Wiuff while competing in Canada. Hague’s sole UFC victory was his guillotine-choke win over Pat Barry at UFC 98.
Also on the FftT2 card, TUF 9 finalist DaMarques Johnson — who happens to be a veteran of the U.S. Army and National Guard — will meet Mike "Joker" Guymon in a welterweight contest that could cost the loser his job. Johnson most recently got TKO’d by Matt Riddle at UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko after coming in two pounds heavy for the fight. (A double-no-no, as Efrain Escudero could tell you.) Guymon is 1-2 in his UFC stint, most recently falling victim to Daniel Roberts’s Submission of the Night anaconda choke at UFC 121.
Mike Swick seems to be hinting that he’ll be on the 1/22 card as well, though no opponent has been reported yet.