Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight knockout artists Cody Garbrandt and Thomas Almeida last night (May 29, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 88 inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Garbrandt made his way to the Octagon quickly and has been perfect since. Against the his highly hyped foe, Garbrandt was looking to score his eighth career knockout and announce himself as a top contender.
Also unbeaten as a professional, Almeida tore through four opponents prior to stepping into the Octagon against "No Love." A pair of hard-hitting young fighters both looking to take the same step forward, there were major expectations of an early knockout or wild brawl.
It lived up to the hype.
Garbrandt struck first, landing a few hard punches and some low kicks. Then, he scored with a hard hook that sent Almeida stumbling, and "No Love" tried to flurry but couldn't force the finish.
Garbrandt stayed on the offensive, putting together fast combinations and scoring frequently. Almeida landed a couple counter punches, but the American was undeterred and kept attacking.
Before long, Garbrandt's hooks began to connect, both as a lead and as a counter. With Almeida covered up, "No Love" crushed his foe with a right hook that sent Almeida falling to the mat face-first.
A few follow up punches ended the bout in the first.
This was a perfect performance by Garbrandt. He came out and took full advantage of his speed, quickly finding his range with some long distance strikes. Then, he wasted little time in pushing forward into the boxing range, where Garbrandt's clean combinations and athleticism really shined.
Each time Garbrandt attacked, he threw multiple punches. While the first often came up short, Garbrandt closed enough distance to land his follow up strikes and knock his opponent out.
Following this win, Garbrandt has very obviously earned a position in the top 10. This was a major victory, and one potential match up for "No Love" would be the other big Bantamweight winner of this card, Bryan Caraway.
Admittedly, Caraway declined to fight Garbrandt before, so we'll see.
Obviously, this was the worst possible result for Almeida. It wasn't a long bout, but the Brazilian never seemed in the fight. He simply couldn't match his opponent's speed and boxing technique, nor was his defense enough to keep him in the fight long enough to figure out a solution.
It's a rough way for him to loss his undefeated status.
On the bright side, Almeida is still young enough to grow from this. If anything was going to make Almeida focus more on his striking defense, a first round knockout loss would do it.
Last night, Cody Garbrandt leapfrogged into title contention by knocking Thomas Almeida out. Is the knockout artist a future champion?
For complete UFC Fight Night 88: "Garbrandt vs Almeida" results and play-by-play, click HERE!