Former champ Cody Garbrandt suffers third successive loss after UFC 235 firefight

Former champ Cody Garbrandt suffers third successive loss after UFC 235 firefight
Cody Garbrandt, the former UFC bantamweight champion, has found himself several rungs down the ladder in a division he once ruled after suffering a first-round knockout at the hands of underdog Pedro Munhoz at UFC 235 on Saturday.

It seems a long time since Garbrandt was robot-dancing in the Octagon moments after knocking down Dominick Cruz en route to winning the UFC bantamweight title in late 2016. 

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Since then, the Team Alpha Male standout has been defeated three times in succession, twice by fierce rival T.J. Dillashaw, and now by Munhoz – a man the bookmakers had expected him to ease past on Saturday night. 

The kicker? Dominick Cruz, the last man he beat in the UFC, was commentating on his latest knockout loss. Ouch.

So often used to dictating his own pace, Munhoz – winner of seven of his last eight – kept Garbrandt on his toes early, looking for a heel hook and connecting with a low kicks in separate exchanges. Nothing troubled Garbrandt to any significant extent, other than resetting his rhythm and leaving him searching for an entry-point to leave his own impression on the fight.

It has sometimes been a knock on the former champion that he is too easy to lure into a firefight and, much like the two Dillashaw fights, it was Garbrandt's uber-aggressive strategy which brought him some early success but ultimately mired the notoriously emotional fighter in quicksand.

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Having engineered an opening on the feet towards the end of the first round, Garbrandt took the opportunity to beckon Munhoz into a wild brawl – the type of zero-sum game won by whomever lands the first big shot on their opponent's chin.

On this occasion and as it was in the previous two, it was Garbrandt who was left staring at the house lights.