The underdogs reigned supreme last night, as both Garbrandt and Stephens beat their Brazilian opponents in fights many predicted they would lose.
Last night’s fights in Las Vegas, Nevada showed just how unpredictable MMA can be. Most online sportsbooks leaned heavily in favor of the Brazilians for the main and co-main event, but it was the Americans that pulled off the upsets. Both Garbrandt and Stephens won their fights against tough Brazilian strikers, and set themselves up for big fights in the future.
In the co-main event, Jeremy Stephens (25-12) utilized his notoriously heavy hands to stifle the offense of former bantamweight champion and number one pound-for-pound MMA fighter Renan Barao (33-4). It was competitive throughout, with Barao winning the first round by using his footwork and quick hands. Stephens rallied in the next two, however, and emerged victorious with a unanimous decision.
In a classic, “the O must go” fight, Cody Garbrandt de-railed the hype train of Thomas Almeida (21-1) with a blistering first round KO. Despite coming in as a sizeable underdog, Garbrandt (9-0) proved he belongs in the top 10 of the division by showing off his precise striking and expert timing. He will likely take the number 7 ranking that Almeida previously owned, and should be only a few fights away from a bantamweight title fight.
What’s next for Garbrandt and Stephens?
Jeremy Stephens seems unable to escape his role as a journeyman. He is capable of beating almost any fighter on the planet, but consistently struggles against the top fighters in any division he enters. Stephen’s victory against Barao was one of his most impressive, and it seems likely that he will face another fighter in the top 7-5 range in his next outing. A rematch with Dennis Bermudez would be fun.
Cody Garbrandt just stole the thunder from Thomas Almeida, and is now one of the hottest prospects in the UFC. His power is no joke, as he has finished eight of his nine victories by knockout. Cody will almost assuredly move into the top 10 after this fight, perhaps against a fighter that can test him in the wrestling department. A fight against Bryan Caraway makes sense.
Garbrandt and Stephens showed last night why betting on MMA is so exciting. You never know what can happen, and the underdogs always have a shot. Take a look at GamingZion’s article on reasons you should bet on Michael Bisping this weekend, and check out our gambling news page to stay updated on everything related to betting on MMA!