Dominick Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt, UFC 207, 30 Dec 2016
Fight of the Night
The great Urijah Faber will go down in MMA history as a legend of the sport. He paved the way for the great lighter weight fighters we know and love today. He made being 150 pounds and under cool when the fight industry was dominated by 200+ pound wrestlers. As legends are created, they also need to come to an end. Urijah Faber lost his WEC Featherweight belt and the belt changed hands multiple times before going to another great Featherweight fighter, Jose Aldo. Before he left the ring, Urijah Faber and his Team Alpha Male made one of the greatest rivalries in the sport against Dominick Cruz.
Time and time again, Team Alpha Male came up short against what seemed to be an allusive fighter with a unique style that couldn’t be deciphered. Urijah Faber, Joseph Benevidez, TJ Dillashaw. All the top guys from Team Alpha Male all came up short. Tonight, at UFC 207, we witness history in the making and perhaps one of the greatest moments in Team Alpha Male history if not MMA history. Cody Garbrant, a long time disciple of Urijah Faber, finds victory over Dominick cruz in one of the most incredible Bantamweight fights.
Like many lighter weight fighters, Dominick Cruz struggled to make it in the sport. When Cruz started fighting in the early 2000s, nobody wanted to watch small skinny fighters run loops around each other like bees battling in a box. People wanted to see knock-outs, and slams, and Wanderlei Silva style knees, and Crocop style head kicks. Despite the challenges, Dominick Cruz made his way from living in a trailer and working as a janitor to joining Eric Del Fierro’s Alliance MMA gym and becoming one of the greatest lighter weight fighters in the world.
You can’t talk about Dominick Cruz without talking about his magical, hypnotic, and extremely effective style of footwork. In an interview with Luke Thomas, Cruz explains how his footwork was inspired by a combination of his background in wrestling, watching boxers, and even NFL linemen. An evasive style that shows him dodging and feinting while executing leg kicks and throwing punches. He created the style in order for him to fight larger opponents given the dry landscape of the Bantamweight division. One of his trademark moves looks like an interrupted superman punch that turns into a side step makes you think he’s going one way, but in fact he will suddenly change his direction and punch you in the face. What just happened? That’s Dominick Cruz.
His style has been effective in defeating almost 11 fighters to attain the WEC Bantamweight Championship and the UFC Bantamweight Championship. But as legends are created, they must also come to an end. Cruz’s style likely takes a toll on his legs as we see him suffer from multiple ACL tears, groin injuries, and most recently we hear that he has developed Plantar Fascia in both feet. Finally, after almost 30 rounds and 3 opponents. Team Alpha Male has come up with a young Jedi fighter who can execute the best anti-Cruz game plan. Cody Garbrandt, a young and tough relative new comer to the sport has a background in boxing. We know him best for his knock outs and his Conor McGregor like neck tattoo. Since coming into the fight game, he has finished 9 of his 11 opponents via KO. That’s the stuff that people love watching and that people will root for.
In Dominick Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt, Cody has an amazing performance that leaves fight fan jaws wide open. Although Cruz didn’t look like the same Cruz, Cody shows that he can move and feint with the best. Although he wasn’t able to knock Cruz out, he wobbled Cruz a couple of times and even opened up a cut above Cruz’s eye in the fourth round that caused Cruz to panic.
Old and current injuries nagging at Cruz will continue to hinder his movement heavy style in training and in the ring. Against strong and talented athletes coming up in the division, Dominick Cruz may have a hard time finding his way back to the belt. But the veteran may still have a couple of tricks, hops, and feints up his sleeve.
Dominick Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt full fight video