Tomorrow night, Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) will bring their highly-successful show to New Mexico as they attempt to pack the venue of Route 66 Casino & Resort for LFA 80. Set to go down on Friday, January 17, the show will kickoff LFA’s 2020 schedule and will be the second time the promotion hosts a show in the State. The show will also be broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass. The fight card is stacked with local talent, a common theme for LFA who typically has an outstanding main event to compliment entertaining fight cards.
LFA 80 will be headlined by Albuquerque’s Steve “Mean Machine” Garcia (10-3) taking on Jose Mariscal (10-4) in a highly anticipated featherweight bout. The hometown headliner Garcia is coming in with a three fight win streak that includes a dominant performance against Force of One’s Abel Cullum, American Top Team’s Andrew Whitney, and Team Oyama’s Desmond Torres. The young, gifted athlete is a long-limbed striking savant that can toll out heavy damage on the feet and ground. Garcia remains one of the brightest prospects on the New Mexico regional circuit.
Coming to Garcia’s backyard will be Jose Mariscal who will represent Elevation Fight Team. The travels won’t be too significant coming from Denver, Colorado “Chepe” has a record of 10-4 coming off a victory in September of 2019.
The co-main event was once billed to feature Damacio “The Angel of Death” Page vs. Abel Cullum, and then it was just Damacio Page featured, and unfortunately for fight fans he was just removed all together. That paved the way for Santa Fe’s Jerome Rivera (8-2).
Making the drive about 80 miles South, Rivera will make the walk to the cage for the first time in 11-months. Last year started out great with a second round submission at Pojoaque’s Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. Rivera was scheduled for a rematch and a change to avenge a recent loss in 2018 that caused a halt in action 40-seconds into the contest when Rivera’s arm broke at the elbow.
Prior to the freak injury, Rivera had just fought for the LFA Flyweight Title in a hotly contested affair with Roberto Sanchez. Rivera would come up short and had hoped to get back on the title track. Rivera would get that opportunity when he signed to fight Brandon Royval, the man he broke his arm against, for a chance once again at the LFA belt.
Unfortunately, in September of 2019 it was announced that due to the postponement of LFA 78, which the promotion attributed to not having a broadcast partner for the event, Rivera’s scheduled rematch scheduled to be on AXS TV, Rivera’s fight would be re-scheduled. Rivera didn’t fight again in 2019 and returns to action tomorrow night.
Welcoming Rivera back to action, Kendrick Latchman (8-5) coming over from Kansas City, Missouri. The 26-year old has won three of his last five and lost a competitive fight to Casey Kenny, who would go on to find UFC success. Latchman is one of the few Flyweights that have the long and tall frame of Rivera and should present a fun match-up.
Both Garcia and Rivera represent the new era of mixed martial arts currently taking over the sport. Rivera has found success in LFA, the top organization in regards towards the amount of fighters that leap from the LFA to the UFC on a regular basis. At just 24-years of age, Rivera is still a bright prospect on the verge of knocking on the door for the another big opportunity.
Garcia has been successful all around the sport’s world despite being on 27-years old. Garcia is a Bellator veteran that started fighting for the major promotion in only his second professional fight. Garcia would go 6-2 in Bellator before a stint back on the regional circuit. Most recently, Desmond Torres fell to Garcia’s punches and elbows during a Dana White’s Contender Series. Another win would get him right back on the fringe of the UFC.
If you haven’t made plans already, get your tickets to tomorrow night’s Legacy Fighting Alliance show at the Route 66 Casino and Resort. Doors open at 5:30 PM and first fights will kick-off at 6 PM. Visit Hold My Ticket for ticket information.