UFC 207: Cody Garbrandt upsets Dominick Cruz in five-round epic to win bantamweight title

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Cody Garbrandt lets out a yell during his win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 207. (Getty)
Cody Garbrandt lets out a yell during his win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 207. (Getty)

LAS VEGAS – Most people expected to see an MMA masterclass on Friday, but it was Dominick Cruz who was supposed to be doing the teaching.

Instead, it was the unbeaten Cody Garbrandt, the so-called slugger, who boxed his way to a championship. Garbrandt dropped Cruz several times, but it was his ability to nullify Cruz’s offense that led Garbrandt to the bantamweight title.

Judges saw it 48-46 twice and 48-47 for Garbrandt, who is now 11-0. Yahoo Sports had it 48-46 for Garbrandt.

Cruz simply wasn’t able to mount much offense. He tried his typical in-and-out, circling style, but he had very little offense throughout most of the fight.

The fighters were talking to each other and playing head games throughout the bout. Garbrandt, though, landed the most significant offense and put Cruz down multiple times in the fourth.

Though the two nearly came to blows several times at pre-fight events, Garbrandt kept his composure and fought smartly.

“It’s all I know. I know nothing else but fighting,” Garbrandt said.

He is known for his hand speed and exceptional punching power, but he was reputed to be far more one-dimensional than Cruz.

But not only did he outland Cruz 83-70, his punches were the ones with significance. Garbrandt was also credited with the fight’s only takedown.

He opened a big cut over Cruz’s left eye with a right hand in the third, and though it didn’t really seem to be a factor, blood was flowing into Cruz’s eye for much of the rest of the fight.

Cruz had won 13 in a row entering the bout and was getting some consideration as the best fighter in the world.

But Garbrandt looked every bit that on Friday. And after the fight, he called out his former teammate and one-time bantamweight champion, T.J. Dillashaw.

Dillashaw outclassed John Lineker earlier in the card and said, “If I don’t get the next title shot, this whole [expletive] is rigged.”

When the fight was over, Garbrandt seemed more than willing to accept the challenge.

“T.J. Dillashaw, if you want to try this, come get it [expletive],” Garbrandt said.

It was Cruz’s first loss since he was submitted in 2007 by Urijah Faber, Garbrandt’s mentor.

Dominick Cruz (L) and Cody Garbrandt land punches on each other during their UFC 207 bout. (Getty)
Dominick Cruz (L) and Cody Garbrandt land punches on each other during their UFC 207 bout. (Getty)