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Garbrandt stops Almeida in battle of unbeatens

Cody Garbrandt told anyone that would listen that he had the number of Brazilian phenom Thomas Almeida. On Sunday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, he backed up his words, knocking out Almeida in the first round of their highly-anticipated clash of unbeatens.

“I’m the hardest hitter in the division,” Garbrandt said. “I’ll knock anybody out in my division. I’m gonna be the champion.”

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Yet despite all the expectations, this one was a blowout, with Garbrandt delivering the fight of his life against the No. 7-ranked Almeida, who just couldn’t get started against “No Love.”

“I have the utmost respect for Thomas Almeida,” Garbrandt added. “He’s going to be a future champion as well, and I look forward to future fights with him.”

Garbrandt was the aggressor from the start, and he mixed his strikes up as he put Almeida on the defensive. In the third minute, Garbrandt began hurting Almeida with his left hand, and after eating a couple of those, the Brazilian appeared to wake up and start firing back. But Almeida’s wild return attacks were met by Garbrandt’s accurate blows, and a right hand staggered “Thominhas” and sent him to the canvas face first. Two hammerfists later, and referee John McCarthy had stopped the fight. The official time was 2:53.

With the win, Ohio’s Garbrandt moves to 9-0; Sao Paulo’s Almeida falls to 21-1.

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