Surging contender Rob Font is looking to break through to the title picture, but former champion Cody Garbrandt has aspirations of his own at UFC Vegas 27.
— UFC (@ufc) December 20, 2020
Though it has been a slow build up, one can’t deny that Rob Font has been tested at key moments en route to his first UFC main event. The road has not been without setbacks. The former CES bantamweight champion built up his resume with a nine fight win-streak in the mid-west promotion before being signed by the UFC. He struggled to maintain the same success inside the Octagon, failing to put more than two consecutive wins together and coming up short against perennial contenders like Raphael Assuncao, Pedro Munhoz, and John Lineker.
Things began to turn the corner for Font inside the cage, but 12 month layoffs in-between his next several fights slowed his momentum. It began in 2018 where where bested Sergio Pettis that December. With Pettis going on to win the Bellator championship since then, this victory for Font has aged like fine wine. The following year saw him best Ricky Simon. Finally, it was his victory in December against former title challenger Marlon Moraes by first round TKO that alerted many to his presence as a potential contender. Notably now fighting only five months since then, a victory over a popular former champion would propel him to the front of the title picture.
In the zone 💔
— UFC (@ufc) May 20, 2021
The trajectory of Cody Garbrandt’s career has been a unique one to follow. In 2016, he was a top prospect who won the world title and was poised to be one of the next big stars in the sport. Since then, injuries and three consecutive losses brought his momentum to a crashing halt. The nature of his losses to TJ Dillashaw and Pedro Munhoz also brought questions. In both he had moments where he abandoned defense in pursuit of getting into a slugfest that led to him being stopped. Following the second loss, many wondered if Garbrandt was taking unnecessary damage early and if had the discipline required to stick to the game plan.
When he finally returned last June after more than a year away, all eyes were on him to see if he could still show the flashes of brilliance he displayed before. He showed that and then some, stopping Raphael Assuncao with a knockout of the year candidate that reinvigorated his career. Garbrandt took full advantage, though not in the way many expected. Despite being a victory away from a title shot, he turned his attention to the flyweight division and what many thought could be an immediate title shot in his divisional debut. An injury and case of covid scrapped those plans, and now nearly a year after his last fight he will fight to maintain his place amongst the best at bantamweight.
Font will be looking to put forward pressure on the athletically gifted Garbrandt, keeping him on his heels and preventing him from settling in to a counter-attack as he’s displayed since working with Mark Henry. Garbrandt should look to mix-up his attack by staying patient and avoiding a brawl with the aggressive Font and looking for takedowns where he is expected to have an advantage.
Guaranteed fireworks 🧨
— UFC (@ufc) May 21, 2021
A victory for Font would establish him as a fresh face in the growing bantamweight title picture. Currently, the division is locked as reigning champion Aljamain Sterling recovers from a neck procedure and a rematch with Petr Yan appears to be the plan when he returns. Furthermore, another high stakes bout between Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw is scheduled for June. Garbrandt, like Font, will be left to observe how things shake out. One big difference, Garbrandt has stated he is not opposed to still going down to flyweight where a title shot may be closer.