UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt took place May 23 live from the UFC Apex Arena in Las Vegas. AT the top of the card, rankers looking to mix up the titles in two divisions put on surprising and thrilling performances.
Bantamweight contenders #3 Rob Font and former champion #4 Cody Garbrandt delivered an action-packed main event. Font’s beautiful striking was on point throughout all five rounds, and while Garbrandt stayed in it with shoots and a late surge, Font won the well-deserved unanimous decision. Font said.
“This is huge. The first main event, a big opportunity and I think I passed it with flying colours. For right now I just want to get back home, spend some time with the family, friends and the team and just get back in the gym. After beating that guy there’s nothing but monsters coming for me.”
Cody Garbrandt did not fill into his evilest instincts against Rob Font in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night, keeping those flaws that sent the former bantamweight champion spiralling on a three-fight losing skid largely at bay. Even as he kept himself under control, Garbrandt’s effort was not enough as Font put on a striking clinic to take a clear decision victory in Las Vegas’ UFC Apex.
Garbrandt, a fighter who has long leaned on his knockout power, appeared to have entered the Octagon with a game plan to instead focus on his wrestling background, scoring takedowns with ease in the opening round. Garbrandt was not able to keep Font down, however, and Font worked behind a tremendous jab to keep Garbrandt from ever getting comfortable on the feet.
Once the jab was established, it opened up every other strike in Font’s arsenal, including a crisp straight right hand that frequently snapped the former champion’s head back.
“He hurt me a couple of times but I got my head together, stayed disciplined and stopped trying to look for the finish and stayed behind my jab,” Font said after the fight. “I said I have the best jab in the UFC and that’s for sure.”
Hats off! 🎩
These two left it all in the Octagon tonight.
— UFC (@ufc) May 23, 2021
That jab was the key to Font dominating on a statistical level, landing 180 significant strikes to just 62 from Garbrandt.
Cody Garbrandt tried to fire back in desperate fifth-round flurries, but Font was able to survive a few late scares to cruise to the final scorecards, picking up his fourth straight victories by scores of 48-47, 50-45 and 50-45.
The win puts Font in the conversation for a future title shot at 135 pounds, which he said is something on his wish list, along with a fight with the winner of the upcoming bout between Cory Sandhagen and former champion TJ Dillashaw.
“I’ll be patient, have to see how the championship fight plays out,” Font said. “Then, Cory and TJ are fighting. I want to get in between any of those guys there, the winner of the TJ fight or get straight to the belt.”
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Elsewhere on the card, Carla Esparza established herself as a top contender in the strawweight division once again with a dominant TKO over Yan Xianoan. Esparza, who won the inaugural 115-pound title in 2014, earned her fifth straight victory with the stoppage of Xiaonan. It was also her first stoppage since that championship. Now, she’s staring down the chance to rematch current champion Rose Namajunas soon. Xiaonan dropped her first fight in 2010 in the losing effort.
Who's next?! pic.twitter.com/RIpSqTrrwy
— UFC (@ufc) May 23, 2021
Rob Font def. Cody Garbrandt via unanimous decision (48-47, 50-45, 50-45)
Carla Esparza def. Yan Xiaonan via second-round TKO (punches)
Jared Vanderaa def. Justin Tafa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Norma Dumont def. Felicia Spencer via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Ricardo Ramos def. Billy Algeo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Jack Hermansson def. Edmen Shahbazyan via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)