UFC on ESPN+ 46 - Font vs Garbrandt - Analysis & Prediction 5/22/21
Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt
We have two bantamweight bangers in the main event and this one should be awesome. Former champion, Cody “No Love” Garbrandt looks to make it two in a row when he goes up against 3rd ranked, Rob Font. Let’s take a look at both.
Cody Garbrandt (12-3-0) burst onto the bantamweight scene back in 2014. The Team Alpha Male standout won his first 5 fights (4 by KO/TKO) in the UFC which set up a title fight with Dominick Cruz. Garbrandt looked fantastic in that fight, dominating Cruz to a wide decision to capture the belt. He then fell on hard times as he lost his next three fights all by KO/TKO. In all three, he got drawn into brawls and paid dearly. After some time off he got back in the win column with a KO win over Raphael Assuncao last June where he had a much more measured approach.
Rob Font (18-4-0) debuted in the UFC back in 2014 as well. His climb through the ranks wasn’t as meteoric as Garbrandt’s was, but he has performed very well, winning 8 of his 11 UFC fights. The only time he’s been finished was when Pedro Munhoz caught him in a guillotine back in 2017. He is currently on a three-fight winning streak since then, defeating Sergio Pettis, Ricky Simon, and most recently TKO’ing Marlon Moraes.
How They Match Up
Both men are going to get the exact fight they want. Font’s last two fights saw him going up against a grapple heavy attack and that is something that Garbrandt is probably not going to replicate. This looks like it should largely play out on the feet. Even if Font did try and mix it up with some takedowns (we saw him do this in the past against striking specialists), Garbrandt’s takedown defense is at a pristine 100%. Vice versa, if Garbrandt shoots in, Font has shown he is excellent at getting things back to the feet quickly.
So let’s look closer at the striking match-up. Garbrandt has a combination of speed, footwork, and boxing technicality to give anyone in the bantamweight division problems. His issues historically as previously mentioned is when he lets emotion get into the equation. The three times he got sucked into a brawl all ended with “No Love” waking up to the arena lights. This was the big question going into the last fight with Assuncao. He answered it by showing patience and exploiting his superior striking edge. Does this mean Garbrandt has turned over a new leaf and is immune to getting drawn into brawls? I’m not so sure. Assuncao was probably the most perfect match-up for Garbrandt to rebound off of. He’s historically very low output and is more of a grinding counter striker. With both fighters playing the counter game it played out in Garbrandt’s favor by keeping things from getting too heated.
When we look at Rob Font’s striking, he lays down a hefty 5.21 significant strikes landed per minute. He will have a 6” reach advantage and will be using his jab to touch Cody’s face often. I honestly see Cody getting sucked into some more wild exchanges for this one. The question however is if Font will connect and put him away. When Font starts throwing combinations, he very consistently relies on closing them with a big uppercut. He’s had incredible success with it since he’s been fighting guys that usually want to wrestle him so they duck right into it. All of the strikes that put Garbrandt out have been big hooks. The point being that even if Cody lets emotion get into things, he may get away with it since his own power hook might reach the target before Font’s uppercut does.
However, Font has never been knocked out and it’s anyone’s guess if Garbrandt’s chin is now out of the realm of compromise. When we are looking at two strikers with power in their hands, I generally lean towards the fighter who A) has never been dropped or B) has a significant reach advantage, and Font checks both of these boxes.
The last item we haven’t really gotten into is the kicking game. Garbrandt has been showcasing some excellent calf kicks as of late and in a 5 rounder, these tend to add up. However, Moraes tried that one against Font and ate a strong 1-2 for the effort so I’m thinking they may not be as big of a factor as they were in the Garbrandt/Assuncao fight.
Taking all of this into consideration has me very slightly leaning toward Rob Font to get the W and make it 4 in a row.