UFC 207: Garbrandt dominates Cruz to win the bantamweight championship

Cody Garbrandt became the new bantamweight champion by knocking down the unhittable Dominick Cruz three times at UFC 207.

Although Ronda Rousey was the main attraction at UFC 207, Cody Garbrandt and Dominick Cruz did way more to help sell the pay-per-view. Their rivalry has been building ever since Garbrandt starched Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 202 to earn his title shot. It all boiled over at the weigh-ins when the title challenger showed… No Love towards Cruz’s teammate Jeremy Stephens.

After all that, everyone was hoping the fight would live up to the hype, and it did. In a five-round slugfest, Garbrandt emerged victorious and put the rest of the bantamweight division on notice. Here’s a look at how the fight played out.

Round 1

With the crowd chanting “Cody”, it’s clear who they’re favoring. The two fighters exchange jabs early on, but Cruz is able to avoid taking serious damage. However, every time Garbrandt lands a shot, he starts taunting Cruz. This is fun! Garbrandt is able to land a couple of body kicks and a late-round takedown. Cruz lands a takedown as well, but Garbrandt escapes from it quickly. It’s a close round, but Cody takes it by virtue of being more active.

Round 2

We’re seeing a lot of standing and trading, which is making for a great action fight. But Cruz is starting to behave more loosely. After landing a right hand, he follows up with an outside leg kick before catching a leg kick from Garbrandt. Cruz is starting to pile up volume while dodging most of Garbrandt’s strikes. This is exactly the type of round the champion needed.

Round 3

The floodgates have started to open for Garbrandt! He’s starting to prove that Cruz can, in fact, be hit, as he’s able to open up a cut with a headbutt. That’s started to open things up, as he’s starting to connect at will. After Cruz misses on an overhand right, Garbrandt knocks down Cruz. All the while, he’s smiling and laughing at him — what a savage! Cruz tries to gain some momentum back, but Garbrandt is dodging his shots. What a huge round for the challenger.

Round 4

All the trash talk, and all the hype surrounding Garbrandt, was real. Nobody’s been able to do this to Dominick Cruz before! Garbrandt followed up his third round knockdown with two more in the fourth. On the first one, though, he pointed to Cruz as if to signal the fight was over. Perhaps he missed his chance to actually finish it there. Cruz was able to recover and attack, but Garbrandt stifled him at every turn.

There’s no question that Garbrandt is up, the question is whether this was a 10-8 round. Either way, the only chance Cruz has of winning this fight is to finish for just the second time in his last nine fights. As the round finishes, the camera cuts to a very proud mentor in Urijah Faber.

Round 5

After being highly aggressive throughout four rounds, Garbrandt relaxed knowing he had the decision wrapped up. That said, he knew that Cruz was going to be looking for the finish. But he didn’t let him get off a clean look. There were a few takedown attempts, but this fight stayed completely on the feet, which is where Garbrandt is most dangerous. He caps off a memorable year by winning the belt in dominant fashion over one of the best pound-for-pound fighters.

  • UFC 207


Fight Details


Pump the brakes on those Fighter of the Year accolades, because Cody Garbrandt has a serious claim to it. This may be just his second fight that’s gone to decision, but from the third round on, the outcome was never in doubt. Garbrandt has dominated every single opponent that has been thrown in his direction, and just took down a fighter whose last loss came back in 2007. He also looked every bit as confident and relaxed as Conor McGregor would with his in-ring taunting.

We may see two Team Alpha Male fighters go at each other in the new year if TJ Dillashaw gets the next crack at the belt. Garbrandt was certainly open to it in his post-fight interview, as he cares not for in-camp rivalries. He’s got some unbelievable momentum behind him right now, and is one of the most exciting fighters in the entire UFC roster. And now that he has the belt, he doesn’t plan on relinquishing it any time soon.