EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso native Fernie Garcia will aim to grab his first career win in the UFC on Saturday, Nov. 19 when he faces off with Brady Hiestand at UFC Vegas 65 at the UFC Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Garcia (10-2-0 MMA, 0-1-0 UFC) hopes to get some redemption after losing via unanimous decision to Journey Newsome in his UFC debut back in May. The loss provided Garcia with a valuable lesson ahead of his second career UFC fight.
“Just letting go and letting my body doing what it knows how to do, it’s not enough at this level. You have to go force openings and force the action,” said Garcia. “People are smart and they’re good everywhere. They’re not going to give me as many holes. I was waiting for him [Journey Newsome] to make a mistake so I could counter, but he didn’t make many mistakes, so that was another factor. At this level everybody’s elite. You’re competing against the best fighters in the world, so they’re not going to make many mistakes. So, you have to go out there and earn it.”
In Garcia’s fight against Newsome, he only landed 38 strikes compared to his opponent’s 63 on the night. Newsome also completed two takedowns which is something, Garcia’s next opponent, Brady Hiestand will look to do. Garcia is hoping to keep the fight up on the feet.
“It is no secret. Everybody knows that he [Brady Hiestand] is going to try to take me down and I am going to try and stuff his takedowns and force him into a boxing match,” said Garcia. “I think the longer the fight is kept standing, I have a better chance at winning. The more he has me pinned against the cage; he has a better chance of winning.”
Hiestand (6-2-0 MMA) is also searching for his first career win in the UFC. The 23-year-old prospect was the runner up in the 29th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Hiestand suffered a split decision loss to Ricky Turcios in the TUF 29 Finale back in August 2021. Hiestand said when he was on the show, he actually was fighting through a torn ACL, partially torn meniscus, and MCL. After surgery, Hiestand worked on recovering and getting his knee right. Hiestand will make his long-awaited return to the octagon against Garcia.
Garcia is hoping to spoil Hiestand’s return to the octagon as the El Paso native is hungry for that first career UFC win.
“Right now, since I am coming off a loss, I’m just hungry and motivated to win,” said Garica. “I lost all my hype from one day to another. I went from ‘Oh, future prospect, future title contender’ to ‘You’re trash, you don’t belong here’ so people switched up on me quick but it is just motivating for Saturday.”
Garcia and Hiestand will face off in a bantamweight (135 lbs) bout on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the UFC Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their match is the second bout of the prelims that begin at 11:00 a.m. Mountain Time. Garcia is expected to walk out around 11:15-11:30 a.m. MT. You can watch the UFC Vegas 65 prelims on ESPN+.