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31st Dec 2016

Cody Garbrandt bullies, showboats and outclasses Dominick Cruz to become new UFC champion

And new...

Ben Kiely

A star was born in UFC 207’s co-main event, and his name is Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt.

In the build up to his first crack at the bantamweight title, Garbrandt had to deal with the masses ridiculing him over Cruz’s dominance in the trash talk department. The Dominator used his gift of the gab to embarrass his opponent in every interview to the point that a lot of people actually started to believe that the challenger had lost the fight before he even entered the Octagon.

You know who didn’t buy into the bullshit that the outcome was already decided before the cage door slammed shut? That’s right, Garbrandt had no interest in swallowing that tripe.

Instead of meekly walking to the Octagon as if Cruz had taken up residency inside his head, he strode towards the arena as the paragon of calmness. He was unwilling to allow himself to get intimidated by taking on one of the pound-for-pound greatest fighters in the world.

After hearing so much of the supposed cognoscenti telling him what he couldn’t do, Garbrandt took to the stage to show the world exactly what he knew he was made of all along. On that night in Las Vegas, he proved all the doubters wrong and showed them that he is the best bantamweight in the world.

Showcasing beautiful footwork, frustrating his opponent with his constant showboating, dropping him several times with his heavy hands and outscoring him in the takedown department, Garbrandt never once looked like he would lose this fight.

He played the role of the matador in the opening frame, taunting Cruz by slipping and ripping before going on the offensive and punishing him with aggressive shots on the front-foot. Cruz came back stronger in the second, just edging the very close round, but from round three until the final buzzer it was all Garbrandt.

A deep gash opened up on Cruz’s eye following an accidental clash of heads in the third round, but the aroma of blood dripping down the great fighter’s face filled his nostrils and each inhale saw the fire burning in his belly grow into a monstrous blaze. He kept coming forward, kept frustrating him with his superior footwork and more importantly, kept piecing him up.

Another dominant fourth featuring mesmerising footwork and a couple of consecutive knockdowns really killed all hope for Cruz getting the nod on the judges scorecards. For the first time in his career he would be entering into the final round of a championship fight down on the scorecards in need of a finish, but that would never come. Garbrandt steadied the ship and breezed through the final moments to take a unanimous decision victory (48-46, 48-46, 48-47)

At the end of the fight, Garbrandt remained unbeaten, extending his pristine record to 11-0 with six of those victories coming in the UFC. and four of those happening in 2016 alone. He ended Cruz’s dominant run over Team Alpha Male-trained fighters and is already looking toward his first challenge as champion.

He sent a message to TJ Dillashaw, the former bantamweight king who campaigned heavily for the next title fight following his sensational decision win over pocket-sized power-puncher John Lineker earlier in the night.

“TJ Dillashaw, come try me motherf**ker.”

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