Cody Garbrandt is officially back and notice has been served to the bantamweight division.
After three straight losses, the former 135-pound champion had something to prove on his co-main event fight against Raphael Assuncao and the Ohio native looked better than ever before uncorking one of the most incredible knockouts in recent memory.
After inviting Assuncao to come after him, Garbrandt unleashed a hellacious right hand that connected just as the buzzer went off to end the second round. Assuncao’s head twisted around like a bottle cap before he fell face first to the canvas.
Referee Keith Peterson took one look at Assuncao and immediately called off the fight with the official time at 4:59 in round 2.
“It feels amazing,” Garbrandt said after his first win since 2016. “It’s been a journey. I went from the top of the world 11-0, 25 years old, world champion to a three-fight skid.
“I got the passion back in my heart and the mentality to be the best in the world once again.”
GUESS. WHO'S. BACK. #UFC250 pic.twitter.com/GUElD39enN— UFC (@ufc) June 7, 2020
Rather than getting drawn into another fire fight, Garbrandt came in with a smart, technical game plan while tagging Assuncao’s lead leg with kicks and keeping his punches straight with his chin tucked.
Garbrandt’s kicking game forced Assuncao to begin switching stances in the second round as his calf started to show a lot of damage. When Assuncao did start to move forward, Garbrandt made him pay with stifling speed and laser-like accuracy.
Just when it looked like Assuncao might try to get one last combination in before the round ended, Garbrandt made him pay with the right hand that ultimately earned him the knockout.
Garbrandt was once considered the future of the bantamweight division but it looked like perhaps it was too much, too soon after he lost three in a row. Following his knockout on Saturday night, Garbrandt proved that he’s far from finished as he reintroduces himself to the top of the weight class after demolishing Assuncao in the second round.