By Raphael Garcia
When the question comes up about the MMA divisions with the most depth, the men’s bantamweight division isn’t the first to come to mind. Dominick Cruz continues to prove that he’s the stalwart ruler of the weight class, and he’s looking for a compelling challenge. Right now, that man seems to be Cody Garbrandt. As fans get excited about that potential matchup, the question turns to whether or not Garbrandt’s truly the man to rise to that occasion.
In 48 seconds at UFC 202, Garbrandt blasted Takeya Mizugaki and finished the fight without breaking a sweat. With his fifth-straight UFC win, Garbrandt pushed his career to a perfect 10-0 and stepped into the spotlight as the man that should get the next shot at the 135-pound title.
What makes Cruz so special is that his elusive style makes him a hard target to touch. It’s true that Garbrandt has fight-stopping power in nearly every shot that he throws, but we’ve yet to see if he has the technicality needed to land shots on someone like Cruz. While MMA stats are always questioned, it is worth noting that according to FightMetric, Cruz has a 75 percent striking defense rating, proving that he has the ability to make his opponents miss. Garbrandt has the power to end the night at a moment’s notice, but the question is whether he will be able to find Cruz for long enough to deliver the blow.
• Cody Garbrandt vs. Takeya Mizugaki: Cody Garbrandt def. Takeya Mizugaki via TKO (punches) at 0:48 of Round 1.
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UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2 took place on August 20, 2016 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.