History in the Making: Pablo Garza introduces the UFC to 145-pounders in impressive fashion

Photo via UFC.com

In the waning days of October last year, UFC President Dana White made the announcement that fight fans had been longing to hear since 2006 when Zuffa purchased World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).

WEC's 155-pound division would merge with the UFC's and the Octagon would welcome for the first time inside its chain link fencing featherweights and bantamweights. It wasn't that fans wanted to see the smaller promotion gone, it was that the fighters under their employ were so talented and provided so many great fights that they deserved to be on the bigger stage that the UFC provides.

Less than six weeks after the announcement, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 12 Finale hosted the company's first featherweight bout. Securing their names in the history books, Pablo Garza and Fredson Paixão agreed to fight on the undercard of the "Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck" card.

Now two seasons later the weight division finds itself no longer relegated to the preliminaries but rather the star of TUF and next Saturday (Dec. 3) -- nearly a year to the day -- the UFC will crown its first 145-pound TUF winner in The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale. To prepare, let's take a look at Garza's and Paixão's bout from that evening.

Dive in.

Garza wanted to fight on the TUF 12 Finale even before featherweights were invited into the Octagon. He fought for a place in the house but lost out to eventual runner-up Michael Johnson. He went back to his native North Dakota and rattled off two quick wins before catching the eye of Zuffa yet again.

He was signed by the WEC as a replacement five days out but ended up losing to Chinese fighter Tiequan Zhang in the first round. Not known for forgetting fighters that step up on short notice, the UFC gave Garza the opportunity to fight less than six weeks later at his new home of 145 pounds. His opponent was Fredson Paixão, himself a four-fight WEC veteran.

Let's take a closer look.

Immediately apparent is the over half a foot height advantage Garza holds over his opponent. Standing at an inch over six feet tall, the former TUF hopeful towers over the 5'6" Paixão. The corresponding reach advantage comes into play almost as quickly when the Brazilian gets his head snapped back by a jab.

He returns fire with a leg kick but continues to eat jabs. Early on into the historic bout, Paixão is having trouble getting on the inside of his taller opponent. Height and reach aren't something learned in the gym, you've either got it from birth or you don't. Garza was lucky enough to be blessed with the offensive tools and uses them completely to his advantage.

It's unknown whether or not Paixão would have figured out the riddle that is "The Scarecrow's" reach because less than a minute into the first round, Garza correctly anticipates a takedown attempt from his opponent and launches his body into the air with his knee leading the charge.

Bone smacks against bone and the lights don't simply go out for Paixão, the whole damn power grid fails. His entire body freezes up, stiffer than shot of whiskey and he falls straight back like a giant redwood. Garza lands another shot for good measure before the referee is able to literally jump in between the two fighters.

It was a jarring and exciting introduction for the audience who was only versed in the UFC and hadn't seen featherweight action inside the blue WEC cage. There's been a long held -- and incorrect -- belief that smaller weight classes means less power which in turn produces fewer knockouts.

Garza put the stereotype to bed as quickly as he did Paixão.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join MMAmania.com

You must be a member of MMAmania.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMAmania.com. You should read them.

Join MMAmania.com

You must be a member of MMAmania.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MMAmania.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker