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Cody Garbrandt taunts, dances past Dominick Cruz to win UFC gold

Peyton Wesner

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. — After scuffles, interview fireworks, and social media jabs, the octagon door shut behind UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and undefeated challenger Cody Garbrandt.

As expected, the bout started with no glove touch and it did not disappoint.

In a 25-minute classic, Cody Garbrandt (12-0, 6-0 in UFC) landed more regularly, taunted more frequently, and handed Dominick Cruz (22-3, 5-1 in UFC) the first loss of his UFC career.

“It sounds amazing. I’ve been waiting to hear that and [I have] visualized that since [I was] 12 years old,” said Garbrandt of being a champion. “It’s been a great journey. I want to thank everybody who has been a part of it.”

Cruz was aggressive early. The champion found the range with left hooks and traded in the pocket with the knockout specialist.

Though, “No Love” displayed some Cruz-like footwork in response. “The Dominator” missed badly on many strike attempts and resorted to a takedown.

Despite it landing, the two went back to stand-up prior to Garbrandt returning with a successful shoot. Cruz finished with a flurry that blasted the Ohio native. Yet, nothing was going to stop Cody Garbrandt on this night.

“I thrive in that environment,” said the “Fighter of the Year” candidate. “That’s what I grew up in — fighting. That’s all I know. I know nothing else.”

Unlike the first, action slowed in the ensuing second round. Both Cruz and Garbrandt began to calculate openings and contemplate the next strike. Regardless of the snail pace, “No Love” hit fast-forward and exploded a combination.

Garbrandt proceeded to counterstrike with his opponent. By using the aggressive nature of “The Dominator,” the challenger was able to sit back and calmly answer to all attacks.

In the third, blood was drawn to the champion. Brutal haymakers followed by an accidental head butt, started blood flowing from above the left eye of Cruz. With a big gash as his target, Garbrandt landed nasty combinations, causing blood to flow down the left side of Cruz’s face.

At the same time, Dominick Cruz’s offense became non-existent. “No Love” continued to taunt and challenge the champion as no powerful strike could be landed. Garbrandt danced throughout the round and Cruz failed to muster anything to cease his opponent’s antics.

Despite being in his first championship round, Garbrandt’s stamina never wavered. He ended up putting the definitive final touches on his victory by knocking Cruz down four times in the five minutes.

“He’s the champion for a reason,” Garbrandt said of Cruz’s chin. “He’s [got] a big old head so I knew it would be hard to knock him out.”

Dominick Cruz, the champion he is, never stayed down. But, he would need a finish to retain his belt.

“The Dominator,” like a terminator on a mission, put pressure on his target. However, he never was able to take the legs out from under Garbrandt or knock him down.

In the year of champions losing their belts, Dominick Cruz, the first new champion of 2016, proved to be the last to surrender UFC gold.

Official Result: Cody Garbrandt def. Dominick Cruz via Unanimous Decision (48-46, 48-47, 48-46)

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*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results

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The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.

An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.

The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.

UFC Winnipeg Official Results:

MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT

  • #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
  • #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
    • Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
  • #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45  round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT

  • #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
  • Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
  • Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
  • John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT

  • Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
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Fight Announcements

Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando

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The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.

It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.

Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.

In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.

Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.

In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.

UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

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Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem

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Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.

Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.

First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)

Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.

Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.

Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.

In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.

UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira

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