UFC 207 is quickly approaching and I for one can’t wait. While the card has its fair share of standout matches, the co-main event is certainly one the fans should keep their eyes on as Cody Garbrandt bids for the bantamweight title again champ Dominick Cruz. The trash talk has been colorful even finding its way onto social media. Both men have been trading jabs, Cruz arguably getting the better of Garbrandt in the exchanges, and now they’ll trade their virtual punches for some legitimate action on Friday night.
Since coming back from injury earlier this year, Dominick Cruz has looked nothing short of phenomenal in his victories over TJ Dillashaw and Urijah Faber. In the Dillashaw match we saw Cruz dominate most of the match until facing a bit of adversity in the final two rounds. Still, his head movement, solid and unpredictable takedowns and striking led him to victory. The performance against Faber showed that Cruz not only has legit power in his strikes, but has improved his distancing game. The sequence in which he allowed Faber to close the distance in order to land a left overhand from the southpaw Stance shows that Cruz’s understanding of distance has sharpened. Against Garbrandt he faces a young Up and comer who has legitimate power in his hands. Cruz will likely employ his usual game plan of moving on the outside and making Garbrandt miss. More than likely we’ll be seeing more leg kicks out of the champ as well as some well timed takedowns as he is want to do against opponents who favor a boxing heavy attack.
For Cody Garbrandt the match up is far more complicated. Garbrandt’s striking is certainly clean, technical, and traditional. Which is exactly the problem. If he hopes to take out Cruz, Garbrandt will have to embrace a kicking game as well as avoid headhunting. Where fighters always seem to go wrong with facing Cruz is constantly aim to land a shot on his chin. Garbrandt should start at the legs and body then begin to work his way up to his head. He’s primarily a boxer which is ultimately going to hurt his chances if he looks to land leather rather than focus on his full arsenal of skills. Garbrandt also has a tendency to launch forward without throwing feints or strikes which could leave him open to strikes and takedowns. Garbrandt has a punchers chance, but if he utilizes his kicks and his wrestling he can at least surprise the champ and keep him guessing.
It’s almost as if in order to defeat Dominick Cruz you have to come into the fight as a completely different fighter each and every round. There are only a few fighters with that kind of capability and one of them happens to be Dominick Cruz. While many think this one goes to decision, a finish wouldn’t be surprising. The pick is Dominick Cruz by stoppage in the third round.
Do you think Cody Garbrandt has a chance?
Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter and Facebook to keep up with his antics.
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