The UFC has finalized a bout featuring a former bantamweight champion. MMA Fighting was the first to report earlier today that former bantamweight champion Cody “No Love” Garbrandt (13-5) will take on surging top prospect Mario Bautista (12-2).
Bautista entered the UFC undefeated at 6-0. He was welcomed by perennial top contender Cory Sandhagen. Bautista would lost that fight by first round armbar. Following that loss, he won back-to-back fights before falling short to Trevin Jones.
Since the Trevin Jones loss, Bautista has been perfect. He’s won four straight fights including three finishes. He’s chained these wins into a battle against the former bantamweight champion. It’s a big step up, but it’s also a massive opportunity.
UFC Fight Night
Cody Garbrandt fought last month at UFC 285 against Trevin Jones on the prelims. It marked Garbrandt’s return to the bantamweight division after a brief one-fight stop at flyweight. It wasn’t the most thrilling performance in the world or one that would give fans a ton of confidence, but Garbrandt got the decision win.
Garbrandt was 11-0 and the bantamweight champion of the UFC years ago. However, injuries and a string of bad losses make that time feel like a far distant memory. Since capturing the title more than six years ago, Garbrandt has gone just 2-5 inside the octagon. He also got knocked out in four of those losses.
He’s looking to win back-to-back fights for the first time since he won the title from Dominick Cruz back in 2016. It’s a massive fight for both men and I expect them to fight with urgency.