Friday night, #UFC207 will take center stage in Las Vegas as the last event of the year. Two titles will be on the line, Ronda Rousey makes her return, Stun Gun is back and a whole slew of great fights will be on tap for fight fans to enjoy. Of all those great fights, the bantamweight title bout has my keen interest, so it’s going to be the one we discuss in this blog.
Garbrandt has that knockout power and Cruz has the movement, which are the two key factors in this bout. This is a big step up for Cody, but I said the same thing when he fought Thomas Almeida. I thought he would have his work cut out for him with Almeida, but he made short work of him and just looked incredible. You’d think there’d be no reason why he wouldn’t be able to do that against #DominickCruz until you look a little deeper, until you peel back the layers.
Dominick Cruz is much more elusive and a much smarter fighter—I don’t think there’s anyone in the fight game today with a better fight IQ than Dom. When you combine that with his athletic ability, dedication, movement, wrestling and speed, Cruz becomes an almost impossible nut to crack. That’s why he’s the champion, and it’s why he looked so good against T.J. Dillashaw. Hell, he looks great in every fight, now that I think about it.
That said, he’s never fought anybody with the raw, one-punch, knockout power that Garbrandt brings to the table. Cody’s young and in his prime, and while Cruz has beaten big names, and Urijah Faber was a great fighter, he wasn’t in his prime for their last fight and there’s a reason why he retired a couple weeks ago. T.J. Dillashaw is a young man in his prime, but he doesn’t possess the striking skill and power that Garbrandt does.
That one-punch knockout power changes everything, so you’ve got to be careful of that. I expect Dominick to come in and use his movement and wrestling to frustrate Cody and move around the cage. When the time is right, he’ll probably shoot a double leg and take him down to the floor. Once you’re on the mat, that knockout power doesn’t count for shit, basically.
On the flip side, Garbrandt has got to pin Cruz up against the cage. He’s got to cut him off and use lateral movement. Once he’s got him against the fence, that’s when he needs to unleash his hands and use that fantastic boxing. He’s got to be careful not to chase Dominick, because if he does, he’s going to find himself on the mat. He’s got to cautiously close him down and corral him against the fence, but that’s easier said than done with Cruz. Dom moves around so effortlessly, changes stances frequently and is just so graceful, making it a very tall order for anyone to beat him, atom bomb power or not.
It’s incredibly difficult to make a prediction here. Basically, this fight ends one of two ways: a decision for Dom or a KO for Cody. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.