One of the best divisions in the UFC has a newly created candidate.
Rob Font had one of the best performances of his career, defeating former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt by unanimous decision (48-47, 50-45, 50-45) in the main bantamweight event of the ‘UFC Fight Night Saturday in Las Vegas.
Font’s boxing – especially his jab – was on point throughout the course. It was the first main event in the UFC for Font and the first time he had passed round three. The key, he said, wasn’t to get into a shootout with Garbrandt, who has tremendous punching power.
“I can’t go hang with him,” Font said in his post-fight interview. “I was preaching all the time – stay disciplined. I really believe this is the best jab in the UFC.”
It would be difficult to argue with him after his sublime use of this technique against Garbrandt. The jab landed within five rounds and Font followed it with right hands, hooks and kicks. Garbrandt had some early success with his wrestling, but when the fight was on the feet, it was mostly all Font.
“He went over there and set the pace early and stopped Cody,” UFC president Dana White said of Font.
Font started the first round with a big right hand which hurt Garbrandt. This set the tone for the rest of the fight. Garbrandt, known for his punching power, managed one out in the first and second rounds, but Font stayed out of trouble on the ground and even used a handful of kimura to get back on his feet in the second. In the third and fourth, Font really started to come in with combinations and uppercuts.
Garbrandt rode a rally in the fifth. He landed difficult combinations and rights of way. Ironically, Garbrandt seemed to have his greatest successes when he got into a fight; fighting has been his bugaboo career.
At first, ESPN had Garbrandt ranked No. 4 and Font No. 5 in the world at 135 pounds. Afterwards, Font said he wanted either a title or the winner of a fight scheduled for July between former champion TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen.
The event took place with COVID-19 protocols in place inside UFC Apex, the facility located across from the UFC corporate campus.
Font (19-4) has won four in a row. On his last outing before Saturday, he finished former title challenger Marlon Moraes via TKO in the first round. The Massachusetts native has 12 finishes in 19 career wins. Font, 33, has won seven of his last nine fights in total. He is now 9-3 in the UFC.
Garbrandt (12-4) broke a three-game losing streak by knocking out Raphael Assuncao in May 2020 in his last fight. He has now lost four out of five. The Ohio native has only made a decision three times in 11 UFC fights. He held the bantamweight title in 2016 and 2017. Garbrandt, 29, was coming out of a severe bout with COVID-19, which caused him blood clots and other serious health issues, including pneumonia.