UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz put his title on the line for the fourth time in the co-main event of UFC 207 against #5 ranked Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt was crowned the new champion with a unanimous decision win (48-46, 48-47, 48-46).
The two men began the bout circling the cage with their evasive movement in a short feeling-out process. Garbrandt soon started taunting Cruz who initially seemed to have difficulty landing shots. Later in the round, Cruz began landing jabs and left hooks and followed that up with a takedown attempt which was reversed by Garbrandt.
In the second round, Cruz continued with his movement on the outside where he threw a lot of leg kicks and pot shots. At one point, Garbrandt caught Cruz with a hard left hand to which Cruz responded with a heavy right of his own.
The momentum shifted in the challenger’s favor in the third round where he rocked the champion multiple times and continued taunting him. At this point in the fight, Garbrandt seemed the fresher of the two and was clearly in control of the fight. Midway through the round, a deep cut was opened above Cruz’s eye due to a clash of heads in the middle of a boxing exchange.
In the fourth, Garbrandt landed several heavy, well-timed counters that he used to drop the champion three times. Cruz was visibly slower on his feet but was still in the fight, landing leg kicks from the outside and occasionally following them up with boxing combos. Garbandt, however, was landing with a lot more authority.
Garbrandt wasn’t as aggressive seemed to cruise a little bit in the fifth round but was still clearly in control of the bout. Cruz’s attacks didn’t have much effect on Garbrandt at this point.
After being crowned champion, Garbrandt dedicated his victory to his young friend Maddux, a 10-year-old who overcame leukemia and has been with Garbrandt since the start of his professional career. He then paid his respects to Cruz and accepted TJ Dillashaw’s call-out.
“Hats off to Dominick and Alliance. He made me a better fighter tonight and he’s tough as hell,” he said. “TJ Dillashaw, come try me motherf-cker!”