The top of two of the most exciting divisions in the UFC have got themselves a new contender after UFC Vegas 27.
In the men’s bantamweight division, number three ranked Rob Font took on number four ranked Cody Garbrandt in the main event and put together a striking clinic to completely dominate the former champion en route to a unanimous decision win.
It was a fight billed to see whether Garbrandt had really evolved into a more mature fighter after getting back on the win trail last time out following three knockout losses in a row, or whether Font could establish himself as one of the best in the world and worthy of being in the title picture.
In the end though, both proved to be true. Garbrandt was able to stick to a game plan for the majority of the fight and not lose his mind, then entering a brawl at the detriment of his chin. However, Font’s game plan and ability to jab and use a six-inch reach advantage just proved too much to overcome on this occasion for the 29-year-old.
Losing to a top fighter isn’t something to be ashamed of and Font has now proven he is among the best in the world.
With the title being held up currently with the champion Aljamain Sterling recovering from neck surgery, Font is aware that he is unlikely to get the next shot. Following the fight he called to get the winner of the fight between Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw, whose cancelled bout has been rearranged for July 24th.
While that’s unlikely to be the deal considering Sandhagen in particular feels he deserves a shot already, never mind with a win over Dillashaw, he’s earned himself the right to make such call outs and give UFC president Dana White a headache.
In the co-main event, we saw an old contender re-emerge as the inaugral champion of the division Carla Esparza ended the unbeaten run of Yan Xiaonan in the UFC with a second-round TKO win.
Esparza dominated the fight, using her excellent wrestling to secure top position and win the positional battle before progressing into a crucifix position and raining down strikes on her bloodied opponent until the referee stepped in to stop it.
After the fight she called for White and the UFC to make a rematch of the first ever fight for the belt between herself and newly crowned champion Rose Namajunas.
White isn’t as convinced, telling the post-fight press conference that he needed to decide between Esparza or giving Weili Zhang an immediate rematch.
Esparza is now on a five-fight win streak and after losing the title back in 2015 to Joanna Jedrzejczyk, she never got another opportunity at the belt. She’s the best placed 115lbs fighter to challenge for it now and it would be more than deserved.