UFC bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt (11-0) will defend his belt for the first time when he faces former teammate and former champ TJ Dillashaw (14-3) in the UFC 217 co-main event on Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Garbrandt won the belt with a dominant unanimous decision win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 last December. Prior to that “No Love” had racked up knockout wins over Takeya Mizugaki, Thomas Almeida, Augusto Mendes and Marcus Brimage, as well as a unanimous decision over Henry Briones.
With 9 of his 11 career wins coming by way of knockout, the 26-year-old Team Alpha Male standout packs big power and has a remarkable finishing ratio, especially for the 135-pound division. And for that reason online betting sites have Garbrandt the favorite at -150.
Dillashaw originally won the bantamweight title by knocking out Renan Barao at UFC 173 in May 2014. He went on to successfully defend the belt twice with knockout victories over Joe Soto and Renan Barao before losing the belt to Dominick Cruz via split decision in Jan. 2016.
The 31-year-old Elevation Fight Team member put himself back in title contention with unanimous decision wins over Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker in the latter half of 2016. Dillashaw also has a pretty impressive finishing rate with six of his 14 wins coming by knockout and three by submission. He is the underdog going in against Garbrandt at +130.
Rumor has it that Garbrandt used to get the best of Dillashaw when they trained together at Team Alpha Male and supposedly there’s footage of the champ even knocking TJ out at one point. We all knew Garbrandt packed big power, but his absolute domination of Dominick Cruz showed us just how good he really is. For these reasons I’m picking him to get the win against TJ, and it could very likely be by knockout.
PICK: Cody Garbrandt