UFC Vegas 21: Rafa Garcia Steps in to Face Nasrat Haqparast

Rafa Garcia
Rafa Garcia celebrates winning the Combate Americas lightweight title. Photo: Scott Hirano/Combate Americas

One of Mexico’s top prospects will be getting his shot at the big show as Rafa Garcia will step in for Don Madge against Nasrat Haqparast at UFC Vegas 21.

Undefeated former Combate Americas lightweight champion Rafa Garcia (12-0) will be making his debut in the UFC on short notice as he faces Nasrat Haqparast (12-3) this Saturday.  Carlos Contreras was first to report the news.

Rafa Garcia is best known for being one of the top talents to come out of Combate Americas in the promotion’s short history.  “Gifted” put together an eight fight win-streak under the banner that included winning the title and defending it against their one night grand-prix tournament winner before leaving in free agency in 2020.  Garcia fights out of the Treigning Lab with UFC veterans TJ Dillashaw, Cub Swanson, and Bellator champion Juan Archuleta.  He was also part of Justin Gaethje’s training camp to prepare for his title unification bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov last year.

Nasrat Haqparast is looking for his first victory of 2021 as he enters the bout.  After joining the UFC in 2018, Haqparast has gone 4-1 in the promotion with wins over Marc Diakiese, Thibault Goti, and Joaquim Silva.  Following a loss to Drew Dober, Haqparast bounced back with a victory over Alex Munoz last August.  He was previously scheduled to fight Arman Tsarukyan in January but was forced to withdraw due to illness.

The bout between Haqparast and Garcia is expected to take place on the prelims of this Saturday’s card headlined by welterweight contenders Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad.  The event is set to take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.