After snapping a three-fight losing skid, former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt was ready to cut weight and fight for the UFC flyweight championship. But after a torn bicep and a rough case of COVID-19, Garbrandt's flyweight plans were scrapped and he returns to the Octagon on Saturday night to face Rob Font in the bantamweight main event of UFC Fight Night from Las Vegas.


The clash between Garbrandt and Font has potentially significant implications for the 135-pound division. Garbrandt's past success has placed him as a fighter always a small run of success away from another shot at a title, while Font's current three-fight winning streak and 4-1 record over his five most recent fights has established him as a player in the division.


Garbrandt won the bantamweight title in December 2016, putting on a stellar performance against longtime top bantamweight Dominick Cruz. He would suffer a knockout loss to TJ Dillashaw in his first title defense in 2017. A 2018 knockout loss in the rematch with Dillashaw followed, and in his only 2019 fight, Garbrandt again was knocked out, this time against Pedro Munhoz.

The heavy hitting Garbrandt finally got back on track when he knocked out Raphael Assuncao in June 2020, his 10th knockout in 12 career victories.










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Font made his debut at bantamweight in his first trip to the UFC Octagon, with a pair of knockout wins announcing his arrival on the big stage. Font's momentum was repeatedly halted when he suffered losses in step-up fights against John Lineker, Pedro Munhoz and Assuncao. Font is on his first three-fight winning streak inside the UFC and has picked up career best wins over Sergio Pettis and Marlon Moraes in those bouts.



A win for Garbrandt would signal an official return to a meaningful position at the top end of the bantamweight division. For Font, beating a former champion would put him in the mix with champion Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen.



This is a fairly loaded up card for a post-PPV Fight Night event. The co-main event features what could be a No. 1 contender's bout in the women's strawweight division between Yan Xiaonan and former champ Carla Esparza. Another former title contender gets a featured slot when Felicia Spencer takes on Norma Dumont Viana at featherweight. And a pair of rising contenders at middleweight open the main card when Jack Hermansson takes on Edmen Shahbazyan in a bout that was delayed a week due to illness.


Here's the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook.


UFC Fight Night viewing information
Date: May 22 | Start time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: UFC Apex -- Las Vegas, Nevada
Stream: ESPN+


Prediction


Cody Garbrandt vs. Rob Font: While it was good to see Garbrandt pick up a much needed win, Assuncao may not have been the right man to test if Garbrandt had fully shored up the defensive liabilities that led to his three knockout losses. Garbrandt has a big vulnerability to lead hooks and tends to lock in too much on winging powerful shots in an attempt to score a one-punch knockout, leaving him open to return fire. Font is a well-rounded mixed martial artist, but can fall victim to his own tendencies to allow his opponent to dictate the pace of a fight


. Garbrandt's legitimate wrestling background could be a deciding factor in the fight, but he doesn't tend to utilize those tools. Other factors in the fight are Garbrandt's return from surgery and that rough battle with COVID. It's going to be a high-risk fight for Font, having to avoid the big power of Garbrandt, but he can likely do that before managing to get a mid-fight stoppage.




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