UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Garbrandt Preview

Former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt returns to action on Saturday, May 22, when he takes on Rob Font in the UFC Vegas 27 main event. A women’s strawweight battle will serve as the co-main event as Yan Xianan takes on Carla Esparza.

Cody Garbrandt (12-3) looked like a world beater when he stopped Dominick Cruz’s 13 fight win streak to become the 135-pound champion. That performance in 2016 can be considered one the the best in a title fight. Cody dropped all three of his next fights losing his title to TJ Dillashaw, losing the rematch in similar fashion and then had his third knockout loss in a row against Pedro Munhoz.

Garbrandt got back into the win column with a stunning knockout over Raphael Assunção in June of last year. Bad luck struck once more as he picked up the Covid and had to battle his hardest fight to overcome various obstacles that came with contracting the virus and vertigo all at once. Thankfully, Garbrandt has now recovered and he steps out of the frying pan, and into the fire as he gets set to faceoff with Rob Font.

Font (18-4) has steadily progressed up the ranking of the bantamweight division and has proved in recent times that he deserves his spot at the top of the 135-pound rankings. His last three wins have come against high level opponents such as Sergio Pettis, Ricky Simon and Marlon Moraes. We have seen in his last fight with Moraes the vicious power that Font possesses and Garbrandt will need to fight a smart fight or he will find himself in big trouble.

This main event will be an exciting firefight, and the winner may be the first guy who lands with a clean punch. Both of these fighters have the ability to end a fight with one shot. Garbrandt needs to enter this contest with a cool head and a solid game plan, which Mark Henry is more than capable of putting together. If we see that from Cody I think he gets the job done here.

Garbrandt will not want to get caught up in wild exchanges with Font. Cody has been known to lose his cool somewhat in past fights, bite down on his gum shield, and swing for the fences. That leaves his chin wide open which results in him being knocked out.

We didn’t see too much of that in the Assunção fight and that sort of game plan will pay dividends in this fight with Font. What Font needs to do to get his hand raised is get right up in Cody’s face and frustrate the former champ. If he can coax Garbrandt into a brawl I feel that Font’s chances to win this fight will increase tremendously. I’m really looking forward to this one, it should be a very exciting main event.

Yan Xiaonan (13-1) and Carla Esparza (17-6) are set to clash in the evenings co-main event. The winner of that fight will put themselves in the title picture in the strawweight division. A heavyweight slugfest is also set to go down on the main card as the Australian based Justin Tafa (4-2) squares off against Jared Vanderaa (11-5) who is looking for his first UFC win.

Former title challenger Felicia Spencer (8-1), who’s only defeat was to Amanda Nunes, will step in to take on Norma Dumont (5-1) in the women’s featherweight division. David Dvořák (19-3) and Raulian Paiva (20-3) will fight in the flyweight division.

Kicking off the main card is a fantastic middleweight contest between up-and-comer Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1) and “The Joker” Jack Hermansson (21-6). Shahbazyan and Hermannsson are both coming off losses in their last outings so they will both be hungry for the win. A fight well worth tuning in the main card for.

The prelims headliner will see Ricardo Ramos (14-3) and Bill Algeo (14-5) battle it out in the bantamweight division. Two heavyweight juggernauts will slug it out in the Heavyweight division as Ben Rothwell (36-13) takes on short notice opponent Chris Barnett (21-6) who makes his UFC debut.

Court McKee (19-10) will step in against Cláudion Silva (14-2) in the welterweight division. McKee has won only one of his last 6 fights, Silva dropped a decision loss to James Krause the last time he stepped into the octagon.

Overall, I think this card will be an interesting night of fights, with a lot of pretty even matchups. I’m interested to see how Cody looks after his Covid scare. If he puts away Font, that is a very good win. Rob Font is on a roll right now and this is a huge opportunity for him to take out a former champion, he will be massively up for this fight.

Check out the official fight card and start times below.

Main Card (BT Sports / ESPN+, pm ET)

Bantamweight: Rob Font vs. Cody Garbrandt
Women’s Strawweight: Yan Xiaonan vs. Carla Esparza
Heavyweight: Justin Tafa vs. Jared Vanderaa
Women’s Featherweight: Felicia Spencer vs. Norma Dumont
Flyweight: David Dvořák vs. Raulian Paiva
Middleweight: Jack Hermansson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan

Preliminary card (BT Sports / ESPN+, pm ET)

Bantamweight: Ricardo Ramos vs. Bill Algeo
Heavyweight: Ben Rothwell vs. Chris Barnett
Welterweight: Court McGee vs. Cláudio Silva
Flyweight: Bruno Gustavo da Silva vs. Victor Rodriguez
Featherweight: Josh Culibao vs. Sha Yilan
Lightweight: Damir Hadžović vs. Yancy Medeiros
Lightweight: Rafael Alves vs. Damir Ismagulov

Ian O'Neill is a Kilkenny man living in Canada. You can catch him on Twitter most of the time talking all things MMA. Follow me on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma.