After a successful night of fights and the crowning of a new champion amongst the sports deepest division in Houston, the UFC will return to the APEX facility in Las Vegas for UFC Vegas 27. Headlining the event will be two top-five bantamweights, Cody Garbrandt, and the New England Cartel representative Rob Font, as both men have their eyes firmly set on title contention.
Co-headlining UFC Vegas 27 will be two ranked women’s strawweight contenders Yan Xiaonan and Carla Esparza with both ladies heavily motivated by title shot implications should either one get their hand raised on Saturday night. Just before that, Justin Tafa and Jared Vanderaa square off as both men look to make a name for themselves in the heavyweight division. Felicia Spencer and Norma Dumont face-off at featherweight with the future of the division still up in the air and Edmen Shahbazyan and Jack Hermansson set to open up the main card.
Cody Garbrandt vs Rob Font – Meet the Fighters
Cody “No Love” Garbrandt 12-3
The 29-year old Ohio native began his journey in MMA over 11 years ago competing in the amateur circuits before making his pro debut in 2012. Two years later, Garbrandt found himself training at one of the biggest MMA gyms in the world, Team Alpha Male. With a third-round finish over Chris Stanford, Garbrandt capped off a successful 2014 with a UFC contract at just 5-0.
On the first card of 2015, “No Love” made his octagon debut against a tough Marcus Brimage, who already had four UFC wins to his name. In a near-even pick em’ bout, Garbrandt finished the fight dramatically in the third round with a flurry of vicious left and right hooks. After one fight under the brightest of lights, Garbrandt had asserted himself as a future contender in a deep bantamweight division.
In Garbrandt’s next scheduled bout he would find himself on the undercard of a Conor Mcgregor card against Harry Briones, who was coming off of a win against Guido Cannetti at UFC 180. Garbrandt would show off his slick striking and timing on his takedowns, which saw him ease to a unanimous decision victory. Next on the books for “No Love” was John Lineker before he had to pull out during fight week because he came down will an illness. Then in stepped 2013 IBJJF World champion Augusto Mendes on short notice. Garbrandt, however, seemed unfazed by the late replacement and dispatched the BJJ phenom in under a minute in the very first round.
Only three months later the Ohio native would again step into the octagon, but this time he welcomed fellow undefeated bantamweight prospect Thomas Almeida, who at the time was riding a 21-fight win streak. As the slight underdog, Garbrandt would put on a spectacular performance stinging Almeida with 1-2s until the eventual finish 2:53 seconds into round number one. Riding off the high of back-to-back first-round finishes, Garbrandt would once again be scheduled on the undercard of a Mcgregor pay-per-view, this time headlining the preliminary card. Garbrandt finishing ability would shine through once again, this time needing only 48 seconds to drop Mizugaki twice before putting him away.
With only five UFC fights to Garbrandt’s name, he was on a McGregor-esque run that only saw the long-time bantamweight division champion Dominick Cruz in his way. In a performance that to this day many would still consider peak Garbrandt, we got to see everything the 24-year old Team Alpha Male product was made of. Garbrandt overwhelmed the long-reigning champion with his speed, footwork, and combinations, dominating the “Dominator” at his own game.
After becoming the undisputed UFC bantamweight champion, Garbrandt’s former Team Alpha Male teammate, T.J Dillashaw, was waiting firmly in the wings for another opportunity at gold after defeating Renan Barao in extremely impressive fashion. The bout was quickly confirmed, and the war of words followed closely after. With the heated rivalry growing, the UFC announced the pair of bantamweights would be the coaches of TUF 25.
Eventually, the two met in the co-main event on one of the promotion’s biggest cards, UFC 217. The bout would be as dramatic as the buildup, with Garbrandt knocking down Dillashaw in the closing moments of the first round. However, the former champion rallied back, hurting Garbrandt multiple times before finishing him less than three minutes into the second round. It seemed like it was Garbrandt’s emotions that ultimately cost him the fight after hurting Dillashaw, rushing in, and then getting clipped, which was the beginning of the end.
Almost a year later the two would run it back with just as much hostility towards each other. The first round would go similar to the first fight, with both men landing brutal shots on one another. Halfway through the frame, Garbrandt dropped Dillashaw, who popped back up and clipped “No Love” with a very reminiscent sequence that cost Garbrandt the bout in the first fight. The outcome would be the same in the rematch with the stoppage coming earlier the second time around.
After a brief time away from the octagon, Garbrandt was looking to put the Dillashaw saga firmly in the past. Coming off of finishing Bryan Caraway with a body kick, Pedro Munhoz was an emerging Brazilian bantamweight who earned his shot at a big name in a very tough division. In a short but frantic fight, Garbrandt made the same fatal mistake he did in the two previous bouts that yet again cost him the fight.
In the midst of the chaos that was 2020, Garbrandt stepped into the octagon after the lengthiest layoff of his UFC career. In what was built up to be a do-or-die fight for Garbrandt, he delivered in devastating fashion. With seconds remaining in the second round, Garbrandt dipped to his right and unleashed a right hook that removed Raphael Assuncao from consciousness before he hit the canvas.
Rob Font 18-4
The New England Cartel is doing big things in the UFC. Bantamweight contender Rob Font made his debut in the UFC back in 2014 and went an impressive 4-1 in his first five outings. Defeating the likes of George Roop, Matt Schnell, and Douglas Silva de Andrade, with his only loss coming to Lineker via unanimous decision in 2014.
From then on, the Bostonian would take on nothing but tough opponents with Pedro Munhoz next up on the books. The fight opened up at a blazing pace with both men trading damaging shots to one another before Munhoz rocked Font and finished the fight on the ground via guillotine choke. Font was looking to bounce back as quickly as possible with another fight booked only three months later against a then-streaking Almeida. Looking sharp on the feet, Font used his boxing combinations to great effect before setting up the head kick that led to the first-round TKO finish.
Font impressed the matchmakers enough to earn him a big name in Assuncao. In hindsight, it seems the jump was a little too big for Font at the time, with Assuncao countering his way to an impressive and dominant unanimous decision victory. Since then, Font has not slipped up.
Font would go on to fight one more time in 2018, defeating the current Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis, and once in 2019 besting Ricky Simon, both by unanimous decision. In his one and only appearance in a COVID riddled 2020, Font emphatically knocked out former bantamweight championship contender Marlon Moraes, firmly asserting himself amongst the division’s top five and looking to take advantage of his headlining spot at UFC Vegas 27.
Cody Garbrandt vs Rob Font: Breakdown and Prediction
UFC Vegas 27’s main event will more than likely be a barn burner. Both headliners only know to go forward at a blitzing pace for as long as the fight lasts. Over the years, Font has accumulated his reputation as one of the most technical boxers in the organization. Font has put together some lightning-fast combinations and has knocked out highly decorated strikers along his way to the top of the division. Garbrandt, on the other hand, has the potential to give Font a taste of something he has never seen before.
The former champion has displayed high-level footwork and defensive movement that will be key to implement into Garbrandt’s game plan. Assuncao took a very effective approach that Garbrandt could benefit from. On the feet, Assuncao looked to counter in between Font’s strikes, mixing in the takedowns and racking up control time on the ground. Although Garbrandt isn’t one to use his offensive wrestling often, the threat of the takedown alone will help open up the striking on the feet for Garbrandt. With his wrestling background and extremely quick hands, Garbrandt has the potential to outdo Assuncao’s impressive performance over the Massachusetts native.
Fonts’ key to victory will be to dictate the pace as much as he can. Both men will want to take the center of the octagon and whoever wins that battle early will find quick success.
UFC Vegas 27 Cody Garbrandt vs Rob Font Official Prediction: Cody Garbrandt via decision
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