Elite bantamweights Dominick Cruz (22-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) and Cody Garbrandt (10-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) will meet one another in the Octagon in the co-main event tonight at UFC 207 inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After much animosity and trash talk in the lead up to the fight resulting in the pair being separated at last night’s weigh-ins Cody Garbrandt will finally get a chance at becoming the first man to beat champion Dominick Cruz in over nine years.
Tonights night will present a new challenger for Dominick Cruz in a while and will give him the chance to cement himself as the best 135lb fighter in the UFC. Cruz was forced to step away from the sport due to injury after a victory over flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson back in 2011. Following that lay off he then return three years later to KO Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 178 but shortly after the injury curse would strike again resulting in another spell on the sidelines.
After time on the sidelines and multiple surgeries remarkably Cruz returned to the UFC at the beginning of the year first regaining his bantamweight title by defeating TJ Dillishaw and then would successfully defend the belt against a teammate of tonights opponent Urijah Fajber at UFC 199.
In the past questions have been asked if Dominick Cruz would return to the UFC the same fighter and the answer was no, he returned even better. With arguably the highest fighting IQ in the business Cruz has managed to create an unorthodox fighting style of movement and fighting which sees him await the moment to strike or shoot for a takedown whilst angling himself in a way which sees him take minimal damage. This unique style will be put up to the test tonight against an opponent who covers distance quickly throwing combinations with explosive power, so his ability to utilise his “Neo Footwork” will be key for the champion.
Cody Garbrandt has taken the bantamweight division by storm and has managed to secure a title victory after only two years in the UFC. His power and athleticism is unprecedented holding a perfect record of 10-0 with nine coming by way of knockout. The 25-year old has notched recent victories over the likes of Augusto Mendes, Thomas Almeida and Takeya Mizugaki but this will no doubt be his toughest test to date.
Similar to Cruz distance is key for Garbrandt who unlike most power punchers does not plant his feet when throwing his heavy hands. His loose and free flowing style allows him to apply heavy pressure whilst throwing strikes naturally waiting to explode forward with a flurry of punches. If he is to be successful against the champion he must effectively use his pressure to cut off the octagon and wait for Cruz to enter his space before striking. Garbrandt needs to prevent himself from being antagonised by Cruz who will hope to make Garbrandt look for the KO and hyper extend leaving himself open to counters.
This highly anticipated fight has all the makings to receive Fight of The Night honours and comes down to which fighter can employ their game plan whilst neutralising that of their opponents.