Former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt will look to earn another title shot on Saturday night when he takes on fellow contender Rob Font in the main event of UFC Fight Night at the Apex in Las Vegas.
Font enters the fight as the No. 3 contender for Aljamain Sterling’s title, with Garbrandt ranked No. 4 in the bantamweight division.
Former champion suffered health setbacks in 2020
Garbrandt (12-3) defeated Dominick Cruz by unanimous decision at UFC 207 back in 2016 to win the bantamweight championship. But he lost it next November to TJ Dillashaw in his first title defense. Dillashaw scored a second-round TKO over Garbrandt in that bout, then stopped the former champion in the first round in a rematch nine months later.
Garbrandt has fought sparingly since then. He lost again to Pedro Munhoz in 2019, but rebounded with a second-round knockout of Raphael Assuncao last year. That win earned Garbrandt a shot at the flyweight title against Deiveson Figueiredo.
|Garbrandt vs. Font Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Cody Garbrandt: -102||Rob Font: -116|
|Method of Victory|
|Garbrandt by KO/TKO: +220||Font by KO/TKO: +160|
|Garbrandt by Decision: +430||Font by Decision: +550|
|Garbrandt by Submission: +2000||Font by Submission: +1100|
But Garbrandt contracted COVID-19 in the lead-up to that bout. That added to a year that already saw Garbrandt develop a kidney infection, which postponed his fight with Assuncao. Those issues scuttled the Figueiredo fight, and left Garbrandt with a new perspective on his health.
“I’ll never, ever take my health for granted again,” Garbrandt told Yahoo Sports. “[I learned] never to take health and being able to do the little things daily we do for granted.”
Font, Garbrandt Both Looking for Knockout Finish
Font (18-4) has enjoyed an up-and-down UFC career, but finds himself rising as of late. He’s riding a three-fight winning streak, most recently stopping Marlon Moraes by first-round TKO in December. Now, Font might be just one win away from his first UFC title shot.
“I’m not looking ahead, but a big win over Garbrandt puts me in that title talk for sure,” Font told Yahoo Sports. “I think I’m one behind. We have to see how the championship fight plays out, and Cory Sandhagen and TJ need to fight … but you never know.”
Oddsmakers see a tight, action-packed fight on Saturday. Font comes in as the slight -116 favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook, with Garbrandt fetching -102 odds. But the odds suggest that a knockout is the most likely way for the fight to finish, whether it comes from Font (+160) or Garbrandt (+220).
Neither man is averse to action, though Garbrandt has flashed more patience in recent fights Whether or not he sticks to that new approach could set the tone for the bout.
“It’s going to be on him not to get crazy and not to get excitable, because he knows I can punch and I’m accurate,” Font said of Garbrandt. “I’m going to let my hands go as much as possible, frustrate him and draw out that guy who fought TJ and the guy who fought Munhoz, and make him pay.”
Font also said he expects the best version of Garbrandt on Saturday, something the former champion agrees with.
“I feel like what I’ve done in this camp to prepare – when opportunity meets preparation, it’s going to be a success,” Garbrandt said. “I know I’ll be the most complete martial artist I’ve ever been when I step inside of an Octagon.”