LAS VEGAS — Cody Garbrandt looked like he would be the next big thing when he defeated Dominick Cruz to win the UFC bantamweight championship in 2016. He was 11-0 with nine KOs and seemed to have everything to rule the division for a long time.
But then Garbrandt dropped three in a row, twice to bitter rival T.J. Dillashaw and then to Pedro Munhoz. He had become more of a one-dimensional, attacking fighter and his opponents took advantage of his aggressiveness.
He scored a second-round KO of Raphael Assuncao at UFC 250 in June with one of the best punches of his career to help him halt his slide. But it also showed a different Garbrandt, a more measured, tactical fighter who still had the tremendous KO power when he needed it.
On Saturday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+) at Apex, we’ll see which was the real Garbrandt — the one who dropped three in a row or the guy who destroyed Assuncao — when he meets Rob Font in the main event of UFC Vegas 27.
At BetMGM, the fight is a pick’em, with each man at -110.
That’s too attractive of a number to pass on Garbrandt. This should wind up a kickboxing match and Garbrandt is the more decorated fighter. Font’s biggest win came when he knocked out Marlon Moraes in the first round on Dec. 19, but that was a Moraes who by that point had largely been used up.
Moraes had been knocked out in two of his previous three fights before facing Font. His win in that time was a hotly disputed split decision over Jose Aldo.
Garbrandt should be able to keep the fight standing, and if he does, he’ll be able to lure Font inside where he’ll be able to get off one of his big punches.
I will lay the -110 and put two units on Garbrandt to win. I’ll risk $220 to win $200.
I also like the fight to end in three rounds or less since I believe Garbrandt will finish Font inside of 15 minutes.
Other betting plays for UFC Vegas 27
I’ll lay the -105 and play Carla Esparza over Yan Xionan.
I’ll take the +125 and play Edmen Shahbazyan to win over Jack Hermansson.
I’ll lay the -150 and put two units on Felicia Spencer to defeat Norma Dumont.
More from Yahoo Sports: