Leonard Garcia Out at UFC 144, Nam Phan Steps in Against Zhang

Nam Phan

‘Bad Boy’ forced off Japan card with injury

UFC featherweight Leonard Garcia has been forced out of his UFC 144 contest against Tiequan Zhang, and Nam Phan has stepped in as a replacement.

Phan took to his Twitter account to announce the new matchup, though the UFC has not yet confirmed the news.

“Yooooooo who wants to see some ASIAN on ASIAN CRIME. Battle for the king of ASIA!!! Nam Phan vs. Tiequan Zhang,” Phan wrote on his Twitter feed.

Since joining the roster following his stint on “The Ultimate Fighter,” Phan has posted a record of 1-3, though there is more to those numbers than meets the eye. In his UFC debut at the TUF 12 Finale, Phan lost a controversial split decision to Garcia, whom he would go on to defeat via unanimous decision in their rematch at UFC 136.

In his other two contests, Phan was defeated by former WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown and by Jimy Hettes, the latter defeat coming in his most recent outing.

Zhang, like Phan, also is in need of a victory, as he is an even 1-1 since joining the UFC. He last fought at UFC 136, losing to Darren Elkins. The loss came after a first-round submission victory over Jason Reinhardt at UFC 127. Zhang is 15-2 as a professional with both losses coming under the Zuffa banner.

UFC 144 is set for the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Feb. 26 and features a lightweight title bout between former WEC champion Ben Henderson and current champ Frankie Edgar. The event will be the promotion’s first in Japan since December of 2000.


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