- By unanimous decision, Cody Garbrandt is the new UFC bantamweight champion of the world.
Months of trash talk came to a head on Friday night at UFC 207 in Las Vegas, when bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz put his strap on the line against Cody Garbrandt in the co-main event. After a long layoff because of injury, Cruz won the belt against former Team Alpha Male fighter T.J. Dillashaw in a close fight. Cruz then successfully defended his belt against Team Alpha Male leader Urijah Faber at UFC 199 before ultimately facing Faber's protégé, Garbrandt, at UFC 207.
The two have had numerous run ins, including before UFC 202 and most recently at the weigh-ins for UFC 207. The building animosity was evident on Cruz's face as he entered the octagon, and it appeared he might have lost the mental edge before the fight began.
Garbrandt was nearly dominant from start to finish, being able to avoid Cruz's attacks and using his boxing background to avoid shots and successfully counter. The tides turned in the third round when Garbrandt really gained control, cutting Cruz with an unintentional headbutt and landing some big shots.
The fourth round Garbrandt knocked down Cruz four times. The first two knockouts could've ended the fight had Garbrandt followed Cruz to the mat with some ground and pound. Instead, Garbrandt was content to taunt Cruz, once pointing to him while he laid on the mat and dancing the second time. Entering the fifth and final round Cruz needed a finish, behind on the judges score cards after four. He wasn't able to change the momentum of the fight and get the finish, and ultimately Garbrandt was crowned the new bantamweight champion via unanimous decision.