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The Scorecard | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt

Who Came Away From The UFC Apex Saturday Night With The Biggest Wins?

Saturday’s UFC Fight Night event is in the books, and now that the dust has settled in Las Vegas, it’s time to go to the scorecard to see who the big winners were at the APEX.

1 – Rob Font

 

Rob Font Post-Fight Interview | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt
Rob Font Post-Fight Interview | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt
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If Rob Font someday wears UFC gold in the bantamweight division, he may look at his first main event against Cody Garbrandt as the night he graduated from being a talented contender to a fighter with championship potential. Keeping his cool in the lead-up to the bout, then putting on a disciplined, professional performance against a former titleholder, and over five rounds, no less, the New Englander stepped up when the lights were at the brightest, and that’s not an easy thing to do.

WHAT’S NEXT? With Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw still left to square off against each other and champion Aljamain Sterling and former champ Petr Yan left with business to take care of, Font will likely need another win to get a crack at the crown. So what’s a matchup that will keep Font and the fans interested? Former champ Dominick Cruz is coming off a win over Casey Kenney, and that’s the kind of high-profile name that isn’t in the top five, but who every fan knows, which means a victory would still be a big deal for Font.

2 – Carla Esparza

Carla Esparza Talks To Paul Felder | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt
Carla Esparza Talks To Paul Felder | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt
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Carla Esparza may only weigh 115 pounds, but there are few fighters tougher than she is in the sport. And that doesn’t just go for what she does on fight night, but for how she’s come back from a devastating loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk to put herself on the doorstep of a rematch with the woman she beat for the strawweight title in 2014, current champ Rose Namajunas. That means more than six long years of fighting killers, of weathering the ups and downs of the sport, and then finding a groove in which she’s won five in a row. If anyone’s earned a title fight, it’s Esparza.

WHAT’S NEXT? A rematch with “Thug” Rose? I’m in.

3 – Bruno Silva

Bruno Silva KOs Rodriguez In One Minute | UFC Fight Night: Font Vs. Garbrandt Highlight
Bruno Silva KOs Rodriguez In One Minute | UFC Fight Night: Font Vs. Garbrandt Highlight
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As I told my colleague McKenzie Pavacich after her excellent pre-fight story on Bruno Silva, the “Bulldog” has to be one of the nicest folks in the sport. So, of course, you want to see people like that do well, and to put it mildly, Mr. Silva has been doing well in 2021 thanks to a pair of Performance of the Night knockouts over JP Buys and Victor Rodriguez. Not bad for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.

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WHAT’S NEXT? I know Tim Elliott is booked in June already, but I think a fight between Elliott and Silva would be explosive. Then again, I have no problem with Silva’s suggestion of a bout against countryman Rogerio Bontorin, either.

4 – Jack Hermansson 

Jack Hermansson Post-Fight Interview | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt
Jack Hermansson Post-Fight Interview | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt
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It takes a lot to come back from adversity in a three-round fight and still get the victory, but that’s what Jack Hermansson did against fellow middleweight contender Edmen Shahbazyan. Outstruck in the first round, Hermansson needed to win the next two frames of stop his foe to get his hand raised, and that’s not as easy as it sounds at this level of the game. But “The Joker” got gritty and put his veteran’s hat on in order to hand Shahbazyan his second straight defeat.

WHAT’S NEXT? Jack said it best – if Robert Whittaker wants to stay busy, he’s available, and that’s a very interesting fight in the upper reaches of the 185-pound weight class.

5 – Court McGee

Court McGee Post-Fight Interview | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt
Court McGee Post-Fight Interview | UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt
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Not many would have disagreed if you said Court McGee was in a must win situation heading into his Saturday bout with Claudio Silva. The TUF 11 winner had lost three straight and sported a 1-5 slate in his last six, and at 36, there aren’t too many miraculous reinventions in the fight game. But that was the thing – McGee didn’t have to reinvent the wheel to beat Silva in Las Vegas; he has to be Court McGee, and that did the job. Tough will get you a long way in this game, and while he was as tough as ever, he also showed up to the APEX with a rock-solid game plan, his years of experience and a determination to get things done. And now, he enters the second half of 2021 with a smile on his face.

WHAT’S NEXT? If Donald Cerrone is staying at 170 pounds for his final fight, McGee would be an interesting matchup for both fighters. Then again, there are a host of young guns in the division that could use a veteran test, but I’d rather see the “Crusher” in there with a fellow vet like Cerrone or Matt Brown in a battle of wills.