UFC 250: Cody Garbrandt vs. Raphael Assuncao Preview

Along with the greatest female fighter of all time, we have a treat in the co-main event. Cody Garbrandt looking to turn his fortunes around against Raphael Assuncao, who is in a similar situation. Both fighters are on losing streaks at the moment. However, it’s also two of the most talented strikers the division has to offer.

Raphael Assuncao

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At 37 years old, the Brazilian is on a 2 fight skid. In addition, he probably needs a win to keep himself considered amongst the elite in the division. His last two losses against Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen. However, he has people asking questions about what stage he’s at in his career.

With wins over the likes of TJ Dillashaw, we have seen just how good Assuncao is. He’s got good power in each hand, and he’s very, very good at switching stances. He beat Dillashaw at his own game. By switching stances, he left TJ confused as to what shot would come next.

Whilst fighting southpaw he likes to go high with his kicks and look to set up his powerful left hook. The left hook is one of his best counter shots. When in Orthodox, his left hook is still his best shot. However, he will set it up with bodywork and a beautifully time straight right. That whilst not having the power of Garbrandt, it still always finds a home and lands flush.

Whilst both men are decorated strikers, both are also decorated grapplers. Assuncao being a multi-time regional BJJ champion in his native Brazil. His black belt in BJJ is often overlooked because of how good his stand-up is. He threatened TJ Dillashaw with guillotines every time TJ tried to shoot on him, He made the threat of the takedown less and less likely.

Cody Garbrandt

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Ex 135lb King Cody ‘No Love’ Garbrandt is on a 3 fight losing streak. All 3 are KO losses. He is currently looking to bounce back in impressive fashion on Saturday night against the ever technical Brazillian Raphael Assuncao. Expect a striking display for the ages. We have a beautifully rounded counter striker in Assuncao against possibly the divisions best power boxer in Garbrandt.

Cody has an array of talents, from being a Senior National All-American wrestler in 2010 to having a 31-1 amateur boxing record, but it is his hand-speed and power that catches the eyes of the fans and jaws of his opponents usually. With only 2 of his fights going the distance, there’s almost always a guarantee of a knockout either way when Cody fights.

His last 3 KO losses have caused a lot of debate as to how well his chin has held up, but at only 28, there’s still years left in the tank for ‘No Love’. His last 3 losses have all been by way of KO, but not just one shot then he’s folding. They all have come after Cody has rocked his opponent, then been clipped whilst trying to get the finish and getting dragged into a slugfest. He’s eaten multiple huge shots each time before going down and getting stopped, so to me it is not a problem with his ability to take a shot, more his decision making.

When it comes to his strengths, Cody has very, very fast hands, equally as powerful. His best shot is his overhand right, but it’s not your typical swing and hope overhand, Cody can throw it with next to no windup. He throws brutally powerful short punches, the kind of punches that come in a flurry to do damage by accumulation rather than one-punch power, but with Garbrandt each one is like mini-nukes unloading on his opponent with next to no warning. This is about as difficult as it gets to defend, especially when they’re coming with perfect technique and accuracy.

The best Cody we have seen is his Title winning performance against Dominick Cruz. He showed the kind of experience a 31-1 boxing resume gets you when it comes to footwork and head movement, something that we had only seen in bursts from Cody. He doesn’t use his kicks much, but he uses a right high kick to keep his opponents circling into his powerful right hand.

Keys to Victory

For Assuncao, he will need to keep his range and counter strike at the end of Cody’s flurries, but he also should watch not to get caught with a KO shot, as every shot that will come his way from Garbrandt has that possibility. Chopping the legs and working the body is also a big part of Assuncao’s game that we haven’t seen as much recently, although it would benefit this fight more than his last few.

With Assuncao being a counter striker, Garbrandt needs to watch he doesn’t get clipped. However, his gameplan, his footwork, hand-speed, and head movement should be enough to win the striking exchanges. In addition, he scrambles better than almost anyone in 135lb, so don’t expect many grappling exchanges.

Prediction

Garbrandt by 2nd round TKO. Most likely after some nice striking exchanges. I just feel the power of Cody will be a bit too much.

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