UFC on ESPN 34 Prediction: Rafa Garcia vs. Jesse Ronson betting odds, fight preview 1

Rafa “Gifted” Garcia, 12-2 is a 27-year-old lightweight. 7 of his 12 wins have come via submission; but, of his 1-2 UFC record, Garcia has not yet been able to find the finish. Jesse “The Body Snatcher” Ronson is 36 and 21-10 as a pro with 17 of those wins coming inside the distance. In his second UFC debut, Ronson secured a first-round submission but later tested positive for banned substances which ruled the fight a no contest.

Betting Odds

With Ronson moving down a weight class and Garcia underwhelming, it is unsurprising the odds are currently at par.

  • Garcia: -115
  • Ronson: -115


Inside the octagon, everything Garcia does, he does with aggression and energy. Typically, Garcia is a fighter who looks to rush forward, swing big, hit heavy, and create a frantic scramble on the mat where his strength, athleticism, and jiu-jitsu give him the advantage. However, this approach is risky and has caused Garcia to gas out and get clipped. Looking more closely, on the feet, Garcia lacks technique and footwork but makes up for it with hand speed and power. Garcia will typically stand flat footed, in the pocket, and swing looping single shots from his hip. He does not bring his hands back well to defend and can leave his chin exposed. While he has a strong chin, Garcia has been picked apart on the feet while he swings and misses with big strikes. Garcia likely strikes the way he does because his ultimate goal is to close distance, wrestle, and grapple. He averages an impressive 4 takedown attempts per fight. His attempts often follow his overhand right strike where he uses the momentum of the missed strike to explode into a single or double leg. Once on the mat, Garcia has shown a dangerous submission game prior to the UFC but has not realized the same success since. In short, Garcia is an all offense type of fighter who can end it quickly but struggles against fundamental and technical fighters.

Ronson is a technician, both on the feet and on the mat. He lacks natural athleticism and speed but makes up for it with fundamentals and strong fight IQ. On the feet, Ronson is a solid boxer who keeps a high guard, uses technical footwork, and cuts angles well from his southpaw stance. His striking can sometimes seem robotic but he is accurate, difficult to hit cleanly, and has heat when he lands. On the mat, Ronson is a strong offensive wrestler with an active top game. However, on his back, Ronson looks to keep a tight full guard and ride out the round rather than hunt submissions or attempt to get back up. Ronson’s typical fight style is the polar opposite of Garcia. While Garcia is all offense, Ronson is risk adverse. He lets the fight come to him, capitalizes on opportunities, and makes few mistakes himself.


A 36-year-old who was popped for banned substances and is moving down a weight class is a red flag. But, Garcia has underwhelmed thus far in the UFC. So, neither man is entering with clarity or hype. Looking strictly at the matchup, Garcia could be his own worst enemy and gas out again or get in a bad spot; but, I like his athleticism and youth to give him the edge in this one.

Prediction: Garcia to win

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