2016 has been nothing but indulgence for fight fans. Ask any MMA fan what their fight of the year was or will be and you’ll receive a mix of equally great answers:
UFC 198, Miocic defeats Werdum for the title.
UFC 196 and 202, McGregor and Diaz break the PPV record and then their own record with no belt on the line.
UFC 196, Miesha with her back against the wall chokes out Holly for the title.
UFC 199, Bisping fulfills his destiny by knocking out Rockhold in the first round.
ALL fantastic fights in their own right, however, in my opinion the battle that would commence between Dom Cruz and Cody Garbrandt would be a performance like which has never been seen in the Octagon.
Here we have hype, explosiveness and bags of potential represented in the form of Cody, 135 pounds of unrelenting, tenacious, destructive power that gets in the face of any opposition and makes sure they know that up until now, they’ve had it easy.
Across the hypothetical cage we have experience, endurance and a grip so tight on the championship that Cruz was happy to analyse on the movement of his belt, knowing he would return to have it wrapped back round his waist.
So why fight of the year?
Cody would come into this fight with a string of 10 wins, with his last two bouts being first round KO victories over Thomas Almeida and Takeya Mizugaki. Cody has no problem knocking out stars or going out to kill those who were thought to be immortal (Almeida), and he’ll take this into a fight with Cruz.
What to deters a lot of fighters from trying to rush Dom is his ability to slip punches almost as if slow motion and then delivering perfectly time counters. I think Cody will stick to his guns and rely on his KO power by first pressing Cruz and dominating the centre of the cage early, much like Eddie Alvarez with Dos Anjos.
Cruz on the other hand, the man quoted as saying ‘I kill hype for a living’, will be relishing the prospect of fighting Garbrandt. His legions of followers reminding everyone quite rightly that ‘you can’t KO what you can’t hit’.
Dom will frustrate Cody by keeping just enough distance so that he encourages him to attempt something like a large overhand right and then the chin will be tested.
Garbrandt def. Cruz (TKO by punches, 4th round) – UFC 206