UFC Bantamweight Championship Fight Co-headlines UFC 207

Two weeks ago, Dana White appeared on Colin Cowherd’s The Herd to announce the return of fan favorite Ronda Rousey. The MMA world rejoiced. On Monday, UFC officials told ESPN that they were bolstering the UFC 207 card by adding a bantamweight championship matchup between champion Dominick Cruz and undefeated up-and-comer Cody “No Love” Garbrandt.

The fights will take place Dec. 30 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.

The fight between Garbrandt and Cruz will be the second title fight on the card, and will be the co-main event as Rousey will also battle current women’s bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes.

Both championship bouts offer intriguing matchups.

Garbrandt, who is 10-0, has been calling for his shot at the bantamweight belt since May when he knocked out Thomas Almeida during UFC Fight Night 88’s main event. In August, “No Love” again defeated his opponent in the first round, this time against Takeya Mizugaki.

Cruz is riding a 13 fight win streak, albeit over a nearly 10 year span. Injuries have plagued the bantamweight fighter; he sat out almost three years after a series of knee injuries in late 2011. Cruz most recently defeated Urijah Faber at UFC 199.

Faber is the last man to defeat Cruz in early 2007. Cruz also has victories over former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and current flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.

The feverish strikes of Garbrandt are his calling card. His stamina has never been an issue and his punches are thrown with great speed. Meanwhile, Cruz is more of a plodder,who picks apart his opponent methodically. His unorthodox striking style is almost impossible to predict. He does well by mixing up his shots with overhands, uppercuts, jabs and kicks.

The power of Garbrandt is a threat to anyone, but the instincts of Cruz and his ability to counterstrike make this a compelling matchup.

Meanwhile, Nunes vs. Rousey features one of the biggest names in all of MMA, and it’s not the current champion.

We haven’t seen Rousey since Nov. 2015, when she was shockingly knocked out by Holly Holm. Since then, Rousey has been working on movies, commercials and even made an appearance on Ellen to talk about her post-loss depression.

But when Rousey has dedicated herself to the sport, she has proven to be one of the most formidable women’s bantamweight fighters. Her submissions are her biggest asset, especially her patent-pending armbar. Her ability to take down her opponent via judo throws and sweeps is exceptional as well. No doubt her striking has improved, but she is certainly best served on the ground.

Nunes on the other hand, has 12 finishes on her resume. Nine knockouts and three submissions, all via rear naked choke. While she is certainly capable on the ground, her aggressiveness and power really shines on her feet.

Her striking combinations are crisp and lethal. Pair that with her trips that often put her into advantageous situations on the mat, and you have a complete fighter. It will be interesting to see the strategy Nunes employs against Rousey.

UFC 207 also includes matchups between exciting fighters such as heavyweights Cain Velazquez and Fabricio Werdum, welterweights Johny Hendricks and Neil Magny and welterweights Alex Oliveira and Tim Means amongst others.