The UFC’s upcoming return to Japan has undergone another minor change after featherweight Leonard Garcia was forced to pull out of a scheduled bout with Tiequan Zhang due to an undisclosed injury. The speed-bump is the second the card has dealt with in the past few days with George Sotiropoulos having to withdraw from a fight against Takanori Gomi for health-related reasons as well.
News of Garcia’s status was first reported by MMAWeekly where it mentioned the probability of the UFC finding a new opponent for Zhang given the amount of time left before UFC 144 takes place.
Had it taken place the bout would have featured an excellent clash of styles given Garcia’s love of striking and Zhang’s submission prowess. While both men are coming off losses, Garcia holds an overall record of 15-8-1 with twelve finishes while Zhang has finished all fifteen of the opponents he’s beaten.
The February 26 show is still ripe with talent despite the recent setbacks with a headlining title-fight between lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and surging contender Ben Henderson, as well as match-ups including Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon, Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields, and Quinton Jackson vs. Ryan Bader.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC