The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the home to a crazy night of fights, with two (T)KOs, one submission, seven decisions (including one split) and one no contest. Here’s our breakdown of the bonus winning performances.
Performances of the Night: Alex Garcia and Amanda Nunes
The queen is dead, long live the queen. Amanda Nunes cemented herself as the women’s Bantamweight champion by destroying the former champion in the first round. Rousey seemed confused about how to respond to the first strike Nunes threw, and it only got worse from there. Her striking defense consisted of trying to push and grab Nunes as the champ landed straight after straight to her face.
Rousey was never dropped or blasted with one huge blow, but she ate solid shot after solid shot, and after showing no ability to defend herself or strike back, Herb Dean mercifully stepped in and stopped the fight after just 48 seconds.
Alex Garcia landed a frightening right hand on a mulletless Mike Pyle as he charged in, dropping him straight back. Pyle’s head struck the mat with a sickening thud, and I’m thankful Garcia had enough awareness to see he was out and walk off without landing any follow up blows.
Fight of the Night: Dominick Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt
TJ Dillashaw took on the incredibly tiny hulk and came out on top. Power is the great equalizer, but when the skill ledger is so lopsided not even hands of stone are enough. Dillashaw would strike just enough to get Lineker to open up and then shoot in with a lightning fast takedown. TJ would switch from ground and pound, to a submission attempt, into a back take from a scramble. It was a masterclass in mixed martial arts and the former champion made a strong case for another shot at the belt.
Cody Garbrandt didn’t just defeat Dominick Cruz, he beat Dominick Cruz. From the first minute of the first round, Cody stood in the center of the Octagon and forced Cruz to come at him (bro). Whenever Cruz darted in to engage, Cody swung back, and more often than not, dropped the champ.
To put this in perspective, Cody Garbrandt dropped Dominick Cruz more times in five rounds than every other opponent combined managed in 22 fights. He didn’t win because he was younger, or because he hit harder. He won because he fought the perfect fight, did everything he had to, and matched Dominick Cruz’s technique when it mattered. This wasn’t a lucky win, this was the changing of the guard, and man was it fun to watch.
Cody Gabrandt heads back to California with 12 lbs of gold on his shoulder and both men earned an extra 50 grand in their pockets.