Garbrandt outstruck the champ for the duration of five rounds, winning a unanimous decision with scores of 48-46, 48-47 and 48-46.
Cruz began in his typical fashion, using his footwork to avoid his opponent’s strikes. Garbrant was looking for power shots, but got taken down halfway through the opening round. Garbrandt later got a takedown of his own and did well to avoid Cruz’s combinations thereafter.
Each fighter traded power shots in the first minute of the second round. First Garbrandt landed, and then Cruz hit back with one that wobbled his foe. Garbrandt was successful in countering with strikes as Cruz tried to move in and out with combinations.
After an early exchange in the third, Cruz came out with a cut over his left eye. Garbrandt also landed a couple of strong shots that wobbled Cruz’s legs, and he taunted the champion throughout the round.
Garbrandt landed a big shot early in the fourth, knocking Cruz down and mocking the downed fighter instead of pursing. He landed another big blow later in the round, again knocking down the champ and taunting instead of trying to finish the fight, as if he knew he was ahead on the score cards.
Garbrandt, seemingly feeling like he won the fight, coasted for most of the last five minutes. As time expired, the two fighters hugged it out and congratulated each other for their performances.
After the bout and in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Garbrandt called out fellow UFC 207 victor T.J. Dillashaw, saying, “Come try me, motherf***er.”
With the win, Garbrandt improves his perfect record to 11-0 while collecting UFC gold.