UFC 207 is less than a week away and with the event being so close all everyone is talking about is the main event and the return of Ronda Rousey. I’ll admit, even though I personally am not a huge fan of Rousey, I am still a little excited to see how she preforms. With that being said though, there is a fight on this card that is being criminally overlooked.
In the co main event of the evening, Dominick Cruz will be defending his bantamweight championship against Cody Garbrandt. This fight has gotten virtually no hype since and is being looked at by the public as just a pee break before the return of Rousey. It’s a shame people think that way because honestly, I think this fight has a real chance to be better than the main event.
Dominick Cruz comes into this fight with a record of 22-1 and is currently on a twelve fight win streak that he has been building over the course of eight years. I personally have Cruz in my top five pound for pound and think he is one of the most underappreciated superstars in the UFC. Apart from Demetrious Johnson, I don’t think there is a single guy or girl on the UFC who deserves more praise.
On the other hand you have the young buck Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt is currently undefeated sporting a record of 10-0, with four of his five UFC wins coming by KO. At the young age of 25, Garbrandt has an extremely bright future and if he wins this title fight he could be on the fast track to being one of the next big superstars in MMA.
Stylistically, this fight is a classic case of the guy who swings for the fences vs the guy who does everything he can in his power not to be hit. If you haven’t seen Cruz fight before, go turn on any of his fights and you will be in for a treat. His footwork and head movement are on another level. The way he slides around the ring with his hands down is so fun to watch. Every time his opponent thinks he sees an opening and you think he’s going to get hit, Cruz just moves out of the way seemingly a split second before the punch hits him and gets out of the way.
His defense is some of the best in the world, but don’t sleep on his offense. Part of the reason why Cruz has been able to put together such an impressive win streak and record is because in addition to his great defense he possess great hand speed and elite wrestling. Cruz is a master of taking the fight to the ground. Many of his detractors might not like the fact that he wrestles so much, but even if you think he is boring you still have to respect his ability to be able to hold guys down against their will for a majority of the fight.
Cody, as I said earlier, is a straight up no nonsense swing for the fences kind of guy. In his short career he has already established himself as one of the hardest hitters in the lower weight classes. He has a killer combination of blinding hand speed and lunch pales for hands. I thought he was a good prospect, but I wasn’t sold on him until his fight against Thomas Almeida. Almeida like Garbrandt, is a young killer at 135 and I thought that he would beat Cody and go on to compete for a top five spot in the division.
Garbrandt took all the hype I had for Almeida and flushed it down the toilet. Going into that fight the biggest strength that Almeida had was his striking, but Garbrandt completely shut down the muy thai striker and up staged him by knocking him out in the first round. After that fight I was sold on Garbrandt as an elite prospect in the 135 pound division.
This fight should provide many interesting story lines. Like I said earlier, when this fight is on the feet it will be interesting to see how Garbrandt’s strengths clash against Cruz’s strengths. We all know that Cody is going to try and take Cruz’s head off, but landing a punch on him is one of the hardest things to do in MMA. Also, how will Garbrandt react to Cruz’s superior wrestling skills? Garbrandt’s career has been so full of first round knockouts that we don’t really know what he will do once he gets on the ground.
Since Cody trains at Team Alpha Male I don’t doubt that he is a capable wrestler because that camp has a ton of good wrestlers, but still since we haven’t seen a ton in the octagon there is some room for concern for him. Speaking of TAM, that leads perfectly into the last story line I wanted to bring up. In the past Dominick Cruz has had many battles and rivalries with guys from that camp. His rivalries with former member TJ Dillashaw and team founder Urijah Faber being the two big ones. The Faber rivalry in particular is one of the best rivalries in MMA history.
I know that Cruz would love nothing more than to take out another member of TAM and stick it in Faber’s face one more time, but I also think that Garbrandt will be doing everything in his power to win one for his coach.
If this fight plays out the way I think it will than we will be gifted with a great and entertaining fight. This fight might not get a whole lot of press, but don’t sleep on it. At the end of the night we might be talking about this fight instead of the Rousey fight. Ok, maybe not, but still I think these guys are going to put on a show and I for one can’t wait.
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