Former Bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt, and perhaps the most deserving 135-pound perennial contender to never compete for a title, Raphael Assuncao, squared up tonight (Sat., June 6, 2020) in the pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event of UFC 250, which took place inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
With Aljamain Sterling essentially cementing his status as the next division contender with the performance of a lifetime one fight prior, it took a little shine off the solid match up. But, it was meaningful nevertheless, with Garbrandt looking to steer out of an unprecedented three-fight losing skid. Assuncao — one of the best counter punchers in the weight class — wasn’t going to make it easy, however.
And Garbrandt made up for all of it, connecting with perhaps the most violent, powerful one-punch knockout you will ever see in the Bantamweight division.
Cody got the action started with a stinging low kicks, while Assuncao looked for an opening to get going. He tried a low kick of his own, but Cody responded with a hard right shot down the middle. Cody attempted a spinning back kick, but Assuncao saw it coming from a mile away. Midway through the opening around and it was basically a kicking battle — just one meaningful punch thrown. Then Cody landed with a solid right hand, but Assuncao was unaffected and continued to attack with his legs. Cody continued to keep his distance, engaging on his terms. When Cody did come in close for a one-two combination, Assuncao stung him with a hard counter shot. He kept his distance, bobbing and weaving, until the first round came to a close.
Cody opened up with a low sweeping kick, but Assuncao was hip to it and tried to punish him on the way out but nothing significant landed. Assuncao, switching stances frequently, was still struggling to get anything going as Cody fired off shots from the outside. Both fighters exchanged hard leg kicks to the midsection, as Assuncao continued to try and chase Cody and figure out some type of effective strategy. Cody started to open up with his hands two minutes in, but Assuncao was able to defend well. Cody landed a clean right hand the knocked Assuncao off his feet momentarily, but he claimed it was a slip when talking trash to “No Love” immediately after. With just seconds remaining in the round, the two played peek-a-boo along the fence, and Assuncao paid the price. Cody drilled him with a dipping hook that he pulled from his bootstraps, annihilating Assuncao literally as the second round came to a close.
Holy smokes ... that was devastating. Cody fought a super intelligent fight — staying away to avoid getting his chin checked — and then unloading at the absolute perfect time.
It was a highlight-reel knockout for the ages ... we might not see a better finish the rest of 2020.
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