The contrasting styles of Rafa Garcia and Chris Gruetzemacher are set to square off Saturday night. Garcia is a submission specialist who lost his debut by decision. Gruetzemacher, a 35-year-old striker, is 2-3 in the UFC and all three losses have come by finish (2 submission losses and 1 KO/TKO). Gruetzemacher has struggled to translate his pre-UFC striking success, several knockouts, and only one loss, in the big show. Garcia is only 26-years-old, and in a loss, showed he can hang with a talented UFC striker, even though he’s made his hay as a ground specialist before entering the promotion.
Saturday night provides the classic prospect vs. veteran matchup. If Gruetzemacher losses, he could be on his way to or receive his pink slip; but, if he wins, he lives to fight another day. If Garcia wins, he finally tastes victory in the UFC for the first time and looks onward to new challenges. With a lot on the line for both men, this should be an entertaining fight.
Gruetzemacher vs. Garcia betting odds
Garcia enters as a large favorite, -275, over Gruetzemacher coming back a +215.
Gruetzemacher vs. Garcia breakdown
Gruetzemacher is a lightweight who fights like a heavyweight. He plods forward, slowly and predictably, swinging hard to try and knock off his opponent’s head. With a willing brawl partner, this is a viable strategy because “Gritz” can typically match or surpass his combatant in power and chin reliability. Of his four losses, only one has come by KO/TKO. His other losses have shown that Gruetzemacher struggles with fluid fighters who can move around his looping power shots, stick him, and/or secure a submission. He has never seen the judges’ scorecard in a loss, losing three of the four by submission.
Of Garcia’s 11 wins, 7 have come via submission, but, in his last fight, he also showed sound striking. Facing a very technical and talented boxer, “Gifted” demonstrated a solid chin, fluid movement, and an ability to throw volume. He unleashed 219 strikes but only landed at a 23% clip. So, while his striking movement, output, and defense impressed, he still has a ways to go in the accuracy department. This is because, in previous bouts, Garcia prefers to get the fight to the mat as soon as possible and hunt for submissions. Being a talented submission artist with improving boxing, if he can keep growing, Garcia should start to rack up some wins.
Gruetzemacher vs. Garcia prediction
I feel confident in predicting Garcia to win. His youth, technique, ground game, and movement should cause Gruetzemacher problems. Despite being his weakness, Garcia should possess the fluid boxing that Gruetzemacher has historically struggled against. Additionally, Gruetzemacher has been finished by Garcia’s specialty, submissions, enough times for me to confidently pick Garcia. Garcia should be tailor-made to give “Gritz” fits.
Prediction: Garcia to win inside the distance
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.