Although UFC 207’s marketing has been all about Ronda Rousey, there are many other incredible fights to look forward to, including the Men’s Bantamweight Championship fight between Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt. Cruz is a long-time champion of the UFC and a fighter who has defeated the best-of-the-best along the way to cementing himself as an all-time great. His opponent, Cody Garbrandt, is a promising Bantamweight prospect who has quickly earned a title shot (one could argue the use of ‘earned’ in that sentence). Regardless, this fight has been hyped out of this world with both fighters engaging in tremendous trash talk through many channels, including UFC broadcasts and even Instagram (Cruz left a comment on Garbrandt’s partner’s page).
Dominick Cruz is a pioneer of perfectly flowing combat movement. A style that’s so difficult to describe, it’s only comprehensible through viewing. Cruz is equally skilled from both stances as he switches fluently with almost every strike, maintaining consistent momentum, power and balance. Cruz’s list of victories is just as stunning as his style, with his last loss coming back in 2007 against Urijah Faber. Since then, he’s defeated DeMetrious Johnson, who is currently viewed as the pound-for-pound best in the UFC, avenged his loss against Faber, overwhelmed Joseph Benavidez twice and shut down TJ Dillashaw’s attempt to take the Bantamweight title in January this year.
On the other side of the cage, Cody Garbrandt has managed a 5-0 record in the UFC so far. Cody’s biggest wins came in his most recent fights against Thomas Almeida and Takeya Mizugaki – two dominating performances that have put him on the radar as being a straight-up knockout artist. It’s this style of fighting that merited a title shot, because whether you buy into it or not, the element of unknown always exists when a fighter with one-punch knockout power gets into the cage. The intrigue furthers when an explosive fighter such as Garbrandt comes up against a tried-and-tested champ such as Dominick Cruz. While Cody Garbrandt’s wins are nowhere near as impressive as Cruz’s, there are not many resumes in the UFC that can even come close to Cruz’s.
If Cody Garbrandt wants to dethrone Dominick Cruz it all begins with whether or not Cody can ‘track’ Cruz’s movement and land his punches cleanly. It’s a task that has proven difficult to the many who have faced him already. Cruz’s footwork is revolutionary – it’s relaxed, balanced and swift.
Cody himself has decent footwork by regular standards, occasionally switching stances to carry forward his momentum and effectively ensure that every punch thrown is from his ‘power’ stance. However, it’s this type of forward momentum that could get him into trouble against the tricky Cruz who uses a wide variety of angles to keep his opponent guessing. If Cody hunts Cruz down in a straight line, expect Cruz to pivot, step off to the side and land hard kicks and strikes to the head, body and legs of Garbrandt for the entire 25 minutes.
Method of victory is hard to predict in this one, but my initial feeling is that Cruz will win by decision. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cruz catches Cody early with some hard strikes, especially since Garbrandt is so emotionally involved in this contest.
Cody Garbrandt is the hype Bantamweight fighter at the moment. But, Dominick Cruz said that he kills hype for a living. Cruz is too tricky, too smart and too experienced for Cody in this fight – however, Cody will gain the respect of many fans as he will surely put up a good contest.
Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt
Dominick Cruz to Win
Saturday 31st December, 04:30 GMT
Odds: -200 – BetVictor