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Cody Garbrandt flattens Thomas Almeida to remain undefeated

LAS VEGAS – The battle of the UFC’s young and unbeaten knockout artists was no contest.

Cody Garbrandt is still undefeated after stopping Thomas Almeida. (AP Photo)From the moment the bell rang, Cody Garbrandt was dominant over Thomas Almeida in the main event of their bantamweight fight Sunday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

They entered the bout a combined 29-0 and were seen as the future of the 135-pound division. Almeida, who was 21-0, was ranked fourth, though Garbrandt was unranked.

But in racking up his ninth win in as many tries, Garbrandt pretty much guaranteed that he’ll be way up in the rankings when they come out later in the week.

“When the lights are shining, that’s when I’m at my best,” Garbrandt said.

Garbrandt knocked Almeida out with a brutal right cross that sent the Brazilian crashing to the canvas. The super aggressive Garbrandt could have pulled a Mark Hunt and simply walked away, because it was obviously over the moment that right landed.

But Garbrandt was amped and out to make a point and he followed Almeida to the floor before referee “Big” John McCarthy dove in to stop it. The time of the finish was 2:53 of the first.

Almeida was never in the fight. He was backing up from the moment the bell rang and didn’t land, or really throw, anything of consequence.

Garbrandt’s power dictated this fight.

“I’m the hardest hitter in the division and I’ll knock anybody out, [champion] Dominick Cruz or whoever,” Garbrandt said.

Cruz, who fights Garbrandt’s teammate Urijah Faber in the co-main event of UFC 199 on Saturday, is a totally different story.

But Garbrandt proved he belongs with the best of them at 135. He’s got a solid wrestling base, good quickness and heavy hands.

He was clearly irritated that he wasn’t ranked prior to this fight, and noted that Almeida’s record was built on soft opponents. Almeida came into the fight with numerous highlight reel knockouts, and his finish of Anthony Birchak in November is still talked about with reverence.

Garbrandt predicted an early KO and delivered on his promise.

“Can I get some respect now?” he shouted to the media at cageside, hoping to be ranked.

It’s a pretty good bet he’ll get his wish.

 

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