UFC Fight Night results, highlights: Rob Font picks apart Cody Garbrandt for decision victory

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Cody Garbrandt didn't feed into his worst instincts against Rob Font in the main event of Saturday's UFC Fight Night, keeping those flaws that sent the former bantamweight champion spiraling on a three-fight losing skid largely at bay. Even as he kept himself under control, Garbrandt's effort was not enough as Font put on a striking clinic to take a clear decision victory in Las Vegas' UFC Apex.

Garbrandt, a fighter who has long leaned on his knockout power, appeared to have entered the Octagon with a gameplan to instead focus on his wrestling background, scoring takedowns with ease in the opening round. Garbrandt was not able to keep Font down, however, and Font worked behind a tremendous jab to keep Garbrandt from ever getting comfortable on the feet.

Once the jab was established, it opened up every other strike in Font's arsenal, including a crisp straight right hand that frequently snapped the former champion's head back.

"He hurt me a couple times but I got my head together, stayed disciplined and stopped trying to look for the finish and stayed behind my jab," Font said after the fight. "I said I have the best jab in the UFC and that's for sure."

That jab was the key to Font dominating on a statistical level, landing 180 significant strikes to just 62 from Garbrandt.

Garbrandt tried to fire back in desperate fifth-round flurries, but Font was able to survive a few late scares to cruise to the final scorecards, picking up his fourth straight victories by scores of 48-47, 50-45 and 50-45.

The win puts Font in the conversation for a future title shot at 135 pounds, which he said is something on his wish list, along with a fight with the winner of the upcoming bout between Cory Sandhagen and former champion TJ Dillashaw.

"I'll be patient, have to see how the championship fight plays out," Font said. "Then, Cory and TJ are fighting. I want to get in between any of those guys there, the winner of the TJ fight or get straight to the belt."

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Elsewhere on the card, Carla Esparza established herself as a top contender in the strawweight division once again with a dominant TKO over Yan Xianoan. Esparza, who won the inaugural 115-pound title in 2014, earned her fifth straight victory with the stoppage of Xiaonan. It was also her first stoppage since that championship. Now, she's staring down the chance to rematch current champion Rose Namajunas soon. Xiaonan dropped her first fight since 2010 in the losing effort.

CBS Sports was with you the entire way on Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from the UFC Fight Night card. 

UFC Fight Night card and results

  • Rob Font def. Cody Garbrandt via unanimous decision (48-47, 50-45, 50-45)
  • Carla Esparza def. Yan Xiaonan via second-round TKO (punches)
  • Jared Vanderaa def. Justin Tafa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Norma Dumont def. Felicia Spencer via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Ricardo Ramos def. Billy Algeo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Jack Hermansson def. Edmen Shahbazyan via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
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Official result: Rob Font def. Cody Garbrandt via unanimous decision (48-47, 50-45, 50-45)

Significant strike advantage for Font: 180-62

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@ufc via Twitter
May 23, 2021, 2:27 AM
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Garbrandt threw a spinning backfist and a Font ducked under and pulled guard. Great performance from Font. Unofficial score: 10-9 Font (50-45)

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Font landed a big uppercut that sent Garbrandt stumbling backward briefly. Garbrandt connected with another right hand. Font landed a big right that hurt Garbrandt and another as Garbrandt seemed to be folding a bit under the big shots.

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Font weathered the early storm and went back to working his jab. Garbrandt kept firing off hard shots, mixing in body work and landing a big right hand. Font landed a two punch combination and backed off as Garbrandt ducked down wanting to unload a right hand.

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@ufc via Twitter
May 23, 2021, 2:22 AM
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Rob Font vs. Cody Garbrandt -- Round 5: Garbrandt landed a good right hand early and then a right and left before firing off more heavy shots, trying to make something happen knowing he needs a stoppage.

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Font followed a jab with the cleanest right hand of the fight and then fought off a Garbrandt takedown. Unofficial score: 10-9 Font (40-36)

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@ufc via Twitter
May 23, 2021, 2:20 AM
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Font landed another crisp right hand and then went to the body and back to the head in a sharp combination. Font again got around Garbrandt's guard with a clean right hand landed a clean head kick before snapping Garbrandt's head back with more jabs. 

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Rob Font vs. Cody Garbrandt -- Round 4: Font popped out the jab and Garbrandt scored with a leg kick in the opening seconds of the round. Font amped up the pressure a bit, working the right hand off the heavy lead jab. Garbrandt dug to the body but so did Font, and did so cleaner

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Font dug to the body with a right and then landed a jab. Garbrandt started to throw harder shots in return, reverting to his old style of wanting to engage in big firefights but still eating hard Font jabs. Unofficial score: 10-9 Font (30-27)

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Font cracked with a big uppercut and then took Garbrandt's back standing. Font landed a few punches before Garbrandt managed to spin, leaving Font with a body lock. Font briefly took Garbrandt down but Garbrandt was able to get back to his feet before working to try for a takedown of his own, but Font defended well.

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@ufc via Twitter
May 23, 2021, 2:11 AM
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@ufc via Twitter
May 23, 2021, 2:11 AM
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Rob Font vs. Cody Garbrandt -- Round 3: Unsurprisingly, Font opened with jab after jab until a Garbrandt leg kick. Font blasted with a heavy three-punch combination and Garbrandt had to circle away once again.

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Font cracked Garbrandt with an elbow and Garbrandt continued to backpedal under the pressure of Font. Font started to open up with right hands off the jab before fighting off a late Garbrandt takedown attempt. Unofficial score: 10-9 Font (20-18)

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Font used the Kimura to sweep and get back to his feet, going back to the jab. Font's jab remained effective, forcing Garbrandt to go backward more than the first round.

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@ufc via Twitter
May 23, 2021, 2:06 AM
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Rob Font vs. Cody Garbrandt -- Round 2: Font landed a body kick and Garbrandt scored his third takedown of the fight. Font tried for a sweep but Garbrandt rolled with it. Font then switched to a kimura attempt.

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@ufc via Twitter
May 23, 2021, 2:03 AM
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Font managed to get back to his feet and landed an uppercut. Font then landed a hard right hand and Garbrandt waived him forward. Font landed a few more punches and Garbrandt scored with another takedown. Font got back to his feet but ate a few punches in the process. Unofficial score: 10-9 Font

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A big right from Font hurt Garbrandt and a knee follow-up connected. Garbrandt circled and recovered and then landed a kick after Font slipped to the canvas and tried to get back to his feet. Font tried to come forward with punches and a knee but Garbrandt responded with a takedown.

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Rob Font vs. Cody Garbrandt -- Round 1: Garbrandt landedan early leg kick andthen a head kick that Font blocked. Garbrandt got another leg kick in clean as Font continued stalking forward. Font finally landed his own leg kick and then popped off some sharp jabs.

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