After over a year away from the octagon, former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt returned to action at UFC 250. Going down Saturday night in Las Vegas at an empty UFC Apex, Garbrandt’s return saw him looking to snap a three-fight skid. Opposite him, Brazilian veteran Raphael Assuncao, hoping to prevent a three-fight losing streak of his own.
There was an asterisk next to Garbrandt’s recent results, however. Two of his losses had come at the hands of T.J. Dillashaw — a fighter later disgraced after testing positive for EPO. For Garbrandt, Dillashaw’s two-year suspension may be justice, but it didn’t erase the losses. And a loss to Pedro Munhoz last year — another knockout — didn’t help matters.
“No Love,” however, managed to turn back the clock on Saturday night.
Garbrandt opened with a pair of leg kicks and followed up with a third. Assuncao fired back with a pair of leg kicks of his own, but Garbrandt returned another leg kick for good measure. Assuncao fired off a high kick that Garbrandt answered with his own. Both men exchanged kicks again but neither really found their mark. Assuncao had been switching up his stance but Garbrandt kept working the leg kicks. Garbrandt really utilized his movement and moved in and out as he touched up Assuncao. Assuncao for his part tried to return and landed a nice counter punch that Garbrandt shrugged off before the round came to a close. Garbrandt was really taking advantage of his speed in this one.
In the second, Garbrandt opened with another leg kick before a take down attempt where both men scrambled back to their feet. Assuncao’s leg was now showing the damage from Garbrandt’s kicks. Garbrandt landed a nice body kick on Assuncao, who had no answer. Assuncao moved forward and landed a solid right and both men exchanged kicks again. Assuncao looked like he was having an issue finding his range, especially with Garbrandt’s movement and speed. Shades of his Dominick Cruz fight. Garbrandt landed a crushing right that put Assuncao to the mat but he was quick back to his feet. Mouthing to Garbrandt that it was a “slip.” Cody Garbrandt continued to press the action and Assuncao looked to be recovered. The Brazilian landed a kick on Garbrandt but Garbrandt ducked and returned fire with an earth shattering right hand that leveled Assuncao just before the horn to end the round.
— UFC (@ufc) June 7, 2020
The buzzer beater, walk-off knockout will certainly leave a lasting impression. Assuncao was out, and even after being helped to his stool, nearly fell off it. It’s been a while, but Garbrandt returned in style.
Official Result: Cody Garbrandt def. Raphael Assuncao by KO, Round 2, 4:59