This was make or break for Cody Garbrandt. The former Team Alpha Male fighter came into this fight in Las Vegas on a three-fight skid. After losing by violent KO to TJ Dillashaw twice and Pedro Munhoz, the pressure was on against Raphael Assuncao. A loss would end his hopes of getting back into bantamweight title contention and even jeopardize his UFC career.
However, he answered all of his critics with a masterful performance against his fellow contender. He landed a vicious KO in the final second of the second round to put Assuncao to sleep. It’s easy to feel sorry for the Brazilian because he never got the love from the UFC that his resumé deserved.
But this was the Garbrandt show. Realistically another win will put him back in title contention. It looks like he has matured significantly in the time that he has taken off. What a night for ‘No Love.’
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) June 7, 2020
Garbrandt was just too fast for Assuncao from start-to-finished. However, he was also far more patient and measured than ever before. A lot of credit has to go to Mark Henry who oversaw his fight camp for this one. Throughout the first round, he picked his shots on his Brazilian opponent, landing at will.
Assuncao struggled to get a read on Garbrandt as the former champion struck with great efficiency. He was visibly frustrated as Garbrandt used his slick jab to land. But worse was to come for the Brazilian veteran in the second round, on a night with massive ramifications for the bantamweight title picture.
— Josh📌 (@_jrickz) June 7, 2020
To sum up, Garbrandt destroyed him. We thought Sean O’Malley’s walk-off KO of Eddie Wineland was spectacular but this was even more devastating. Assuncao came into the second round with slightly more pace. However, he didn’t overly trouble ‘No Love’ who maintained his focus, refusing to be lured into a brawl.
Then literally with one second left in the fight, Garbrandt exploded with as violent a right hook as you will ever see. The horn sounded as Assuncao hit the ground. Just like that. In short, it’s an instant KO of the year contender. Garbrandt just made a massive statement as he looks to regain his old belt. He will probably need another win but he’s right back in the mix.
— LockerRoom (@lockerroom_in) June 7, 2020
This was a huge night at bantamweight. Cory Stamann got an emotional victory over Brian Kelleher shortly after the former’s brother tragically passed away. Then Sean O’Malley took on former WEC champion Eddie Wineland in what was supposed to be a major step-up for the rising star. However, his walkout knockout was scorching.
But the biggest win of the night went to Aljamain Sterling. The New York native choked out Cory Sandhagen in just 88 seconds. In short, he will fight the winner of Petr Yan v Jose Aldo for the title. In sum, the bantamweight division is in rude health right now. There are so many exciting fighters and match-ups. Who would you like to see next?