Originally scheduled to face Carlos Diego Ferreira at UFC 277, Drakkar Klose instead faced off with short-notice replacement Rafa Garcia on the televised preliminary card on Saturday.
Klose was looking for his second win of 2022, after missing all of 2021 following the infamous Jeremy Stephens shoving incident. Garcia was looking for his third straight win overall.
Rafa Garcia started off the fight on the back foot with Klose putting on some forward pressure landing a few nice left high kicks. A minute in and Klose’s pressure led to a brief level change with Garcia breaking away quickly. Klose began to land some nice uppercuts in and out of the clinch, with the two getting involved in some dirty boxing. Despite some nice shots from Klose, Garcia wobbled him with a short left hook, but the 34-year-old managed to weather the storm.
With a minute left of the round, Klose managed to briefly get Garcia to the ground sticking to the Mexicans back. Some heavy shots whilst controlling on the ground gave Klose the edge in the first five minutes.
Round two started out with more of the same as Klose came out of the gates fast, pushing Garcia up against the cage. Garcia began to try and work his way into range with some jab feints, but Klose did well to maintain his distance. The two traded some heavy leg kicks with Garcia scoring himself a big double leg takedown not long after. “Gifted” Garcia couldn’t do enough to keep his position as the referee stood them up due to a lack of action from Rafa. With 25 seconds left in round two, Klose landed a beautiful uppercut whilst Garcia was moving backwards, making it a difficult one for the judges to score.
Coming into the final round, the consensus was that it was 1-1. More of the same featured early in the final five minutes as Klose carried on with some forward pressure, but Garcia managed to score yet another takedown, yet again failing to do anything with it. In the striking exchanges, Klose began to separate himself being the clear favourite in that department.
It became visible that the Mexican began slowing down and Klose carried on with the forward pressure making it uncomfortable for Garcia. Some dirty boxing in the clinch led to Klose shooting for a takedown but failing. The Michigan Native’s veteran experience proved fruitful as he got the nod in what was a closely contested bout.x
Following the win, Klose called out fellow Michigan star Tony Ferguson.
“You know who I want now? I want El Cucuy,” Klose exclaimed during his post-fight interview. “The Boogeyman. You know we’re both from Michigan. I want to know who the king of Michigan is.”
Official Result: Drakkar Klose def. Rafa Garcia by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)