Two judges scored it 29-28 for Garcia while one scored it 30-27 for Phan, leading the fans to boo and offer a profane chant. Garcia was apologetic in his post-fight comments and acknowledged that the decision easily could have gone to Phan, who was loudly cheered by the crowd.
Both fighters said beforehand that they were preparing for a stand-up brawl, and the fans got what they were promised from the beginning, as the first round started with a hard exchange of punches. Garcia threw his looping strikes throughout the first round, while Phan was a little more cautious but a little more accurate with what he threw.
The second round started mostly the same, but Garcia surprised Phan a couple minutes in by shooting for a takedown. Garcia did get Phan to the ground, but he didn't do much of anything before Phan got right back up. After that Phan rocked Garcia with a couple of huge punches, knocked him down and got on top of him, raining down more punches as Garcia tried to escape. Phan got Garcia's back with about two minutes to go in the second round, and although he failed to finish the fight with a rear-naked choke, he clearly dominated the round.
In the third round Garcia looked exhausted, and although he was hitting Phan with a fair number of punches and opening up a cut on Phan's head, it was Phan who was more accurate and effective with his strikes. He deserved to win the round, and -- in my opinion -- the fight. But two judges disagreed.
"I don't know what they were looking at," Phan said of the judges. "Not to take anything away from Leonard, but I thought I beat him all three rounds."
The bout was contested at featherweight; 145-pound fighters appeared in the Octagon for the first time on Saturday night following the merger of the UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting. It's safe to say a lot of UFC fans came away impressed with their first exposure to featherweight action. Even if they didn't like the decision.
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