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While much of the sports landscape is in the early stages of finding its footing in the summer of the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC is starting to hit its stride. Though they are limited to fighters who already reside here in the United States, the company will host it’s the fifth event Saturday evening since the pandemic got started now three months ago.
Even though the card doesn’t carry much in the way of star power, those who are fans of technique and action are in for a great evening of fights.
With the prelims getting kicked off at 6:30 on ESPN+, the main card is slated for pay-per-view and features two of the best women fighters in the sport’s history in Amanda Nunes and Felicia Spencer. Before then, however, the co-main event of the evening offers a bantamweight fight that is sure to have long term implications in the division.
Let’s take a closer look at that bantamweight bout to see where we can find an edge.
These odds came from FanDuel Sportsbook on June 4, 2020.
Cody Garbrandt (11-3-0) vs. Raphael Assuncao (27-7-0)
Since beginning his mixed martial arts career 11-0, a streak that included a bantamweight title belt and ended the run of division legend Dominik Cruz, Garbrandt has lost his last three straight. All by knockout, and two at the hands of TJ Dillashaw in 17′ and 18′.
The last time we saw Garbrandt inside the octagon was in March of 2019, another KO defeat this time to Pedro Munhoz. With over a year off since his last fight, the age-old question remains for Garnrandt coming into this fight; ring rust or rested?
Despite the three straight losses, Garbrandt still ranks #9 in the division and a win in this one could put him right back on track for a trilogy fight with Dillashaw.
On the other side of this bantamweight showdown, Raphael Assuncao comes in on a two-fight kid of his own. The last time we saw him inside the octagon was a three-round affair against Cory Sandhagen at UFC 241 in August that ended in a unanimous decision loss.
Thanks to the shallow nature of the bantamweight, Assuncao has also fought Dillashaw twice, splitting the bouts but most recently losing via decision at UFC 200 in 2016. Assuncao does have victories against the #1 and #2 contenders in the division, Marlon Moraes and Aljamain Sterling, experiences he surely will be looking to draw confidence from in this one.
For two fighters who love to stand up and throw them, Garbrandt has a slight advantage in strikes landed per minute at 3.5 and knockout percentage at 81%. While both fighters are desperate for a win, it’s truly now or never time for a Garbrandt and I expect to see one of the best performances of his career as he gets back on track in the sport.