I was wondering who is going to face Monica 'Flowerbomb' Garcia (16-5) at LFC 25, as she defends her title for the very first time. A vacant title she won against Shay 'The Fox' Mazzato (16-8) who fought bravely and tried everything against a powerful opponent that actually became stronger and quicker as the fight wore on. As the matchups for the card became known, I began to cross off potential names. I still envisioned Monica and Jolene 'The Valkyrie' Hexx (21-6-1) in a winner-take-all two-title match, but that became improbable, now that Jolene will fight C.J. 'Ice Cold' Kellerman (13-4) in the co-main event. I was not surprised by the announcement that Garcia’s foe will be Roxy 'Roundhouse' Michaels (10-3). Originally, my thinking was that Michaels is still a fight or two away from a title shot, but that was when Hadden was champion. That is not to say that Garcia is an easier opponent, but that just highlights the reality of the evolving LFC. Garcia vs Michaels now makes sense.
Monica was explosive in winning the title at LFC 23; she tore into Mazzato with heavy punches and powerful body slams. Mazzato, of course, caused the early retirement of Feather 'The Hammer' Hadden (21-1) after their free for all at LFC 22. What makes her performance against Garcia even more remarkable is the fact that Mazzato did everything right in her run for the title, but it just wasn’t enough.
Leading up to the bout against Mazzato, the announcers suggested that Garcia may have partied a little too much the night before. I don’t know if that really happened, but one of the more obvious parts of her game is stamina. Stamina and late nights do not work well together as we’ve many times before, the list of talented fighters who flamed out, because of excessive partying is long. Mazzato deserves praise, but a dominant performance by the new champion needs acknowledgment. Garcia, from Monterrey, is Mexico’s best MMA fighter. Commenting on her new belt, she says, “being a champion has changed my outlook on things, and I feel like it’s given me a new opportunity to learn and grow more as a young woman.”
The black team has owned the title from day one of the LFC; there is pride in knowing that the other team has yet to claim it. A statement from Monica reads, “Yes, I do feel a need to hold on to the title for the fact that I’ve been putting blood, sweat, and tears into what I love and also to empower other females to fight for what they want.”
After that glowing summary of Garcia, is Michaels the right choice for this honor/opportunity? We shall see. In addition to her MMA background, she has two qualities which do not show up on her fight record, but carry enough weight to off-set the size difference. She has both fearlessness and composure working for her. The fearlessness to get into the cage with anyone, and the composure to keep her wits about her when an opponent is charging or attempting a submission hold. I asked her if she has any concerns about the champion’s power and she said, “I’m sure she is a strong opponent, but I’m fast and my accuracy has been on point.”
Monica 'Flowerbomb' Garcia (16-5) looking to defend her belt at LFC 25: Showdown At Sam’s Town
Michaels is 3-0 in the LFC. She started off with two split decision wins and a unanimous win at Eurobash. Her first match, at LFC 21, saw her go against a very active and aggressive Shelly 'Aphrodite' DaSilva (9-7), who is known for losing her temper in the ring. The first round did see a one-point deduction for both fighters for dirty tactics, but that type of behavior was minimal. I sensed that Roxy’s poise kept Shelly from having any meltdowns. DaSilva fought very well, but found herself on the losing end of a tight decision. At one point, Michaels had to outlast an endless armbar, and doing so with experience and composure. Her next fight was against Kick-Boxer Raya 'Sugar Ray' Ryans (7-3), who gave Michaels a workout. Michaels used a variety of techniques, boxing, wrestling, slams, and submission holds to outpace a very game Ryans at LFC 22 to take home the W.
At LFC 24 Michaels found herself outweighed by 25 pounds and gave up seven inches in height difference to Jesse Santos [0-0]. Roxy was able to earn a unanimous decision by neutralizing the willful strength of Santos; certainly no easy feat. They both came out with power kicks, trying to set-up control. Roxy showed her conditioning and heart when she quickly bounced up a couple of times after being slammed to the mat by Santos; she also managed a couple of well-timed and impressive takedowns of her own. The fact that she fearlessly corralled ‘El Toro’ might serve her well against Garcia, who will likely outweigh her by more than Santos did. It was interesting to see Santos clap for Michaels after the decision; a rare show of sportsmanship in the LFC.
Roxy has this to say about her title shot, “Absolutely! I’m totally ready, and I have been training hard to the best of my ability to win the gold.” She also added, “I have been working endlessly and am looking forward to showcasing my abilities.”
Roxy has pointed out that she is often underestimated due to her size. When asked about Michaels, Garcia said, “…well, her outfits are cute…best of luck in the ring, chica.” If I didn’t know any better, I would say those were fighting words.
I don’t think a champion’s first title defense is the right time to overlook an opponent as capable as ‘Roundhouse’ is, but to her credit, Garcia has worked hard in her fight preparation. “Training has been very intense, yet fun at the same time! My coaches and teammates are very supportive; they keep me focused and grounded.” she said.
Think of the joy that the pink team would feel if Roxy can bring the belt home. Is she motivated? What does winning the title mean to her? She told me, “winning the title means a lot to me, because since I stepped foot into the ring, I have wanted to prove to others to not judge a book by its cover. Regardless of how small I may be, my fearlessness, determination, ambition, and dedication shows for itself…that it’s possible to do anything you set your mind on while staying focused on your goal.”
Roxy 'Roundhouse' Michaels (10-3) looking to capture Gold in the biggest fight of her career.
It sure sounds like the training for the bout is over, and the fighters are gearing up for fight-night. It is easy to see how they are anxious to finally trade punches, kicks, and slams.
One fighter stormed the LFC with momentum in her first match, while the other has bided her time. They will meet in the cage soon; it is unavoidable at this point. Will the champion’s power dominate as it did against Mazzato? Or will Michaels power kicks and wrestling game provide an opening to finish the match? Exciting times are ahead at Sam’s Town.
#LFC 25: Showdown At Sam’s Town will be available on PPV and more than 2000 cable & satellite systems starting May 18.