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Cruz-Garbrandt to co-headline UFC 207

Dominick Cruz celebrates with the title belt after his win against TJ Dillashaw in their mixed martial arts title bout at UFC Fight Night 81, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Boston. Cruz won via split decision and is the new UFC Bantamweight Champion. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
AP Photo/Gregory Payan

UFC 207 now has a full-on bantamweight theme, with the men’s title to be contested in the co-main event alongside the much-anticipated Amanda Nunes-Ronda Rousey matchup.

Dominick Cruz will put his belt on the line against unbeaten Cody Garbrandt in the co-feature December 30 at T-Mobile Arena, Brian Campbell of ESPN.com reports.

Both Cruz and Garbrandt are undefeated in UFC competition at 5-0, with the 22-1 Cruz’s lone loss coming before he signed on with the top MMA promotion. The bout between these two, whom USA Today ranks as its Nos. 1 and 7 bantamweight fighters at present, received some hype after the 25-year-old Garbrandt’s 48-second knockout of Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 202. Garbrandt called out the 31-year-old Cruz, who was doing commentary for Fox Sports 1, to set this event in motion.

Cruz entered the UFC in 2011 and hasn’t lost a fight in nearly 10 years, with his only defeat coming in March of 2007. The UFC bantamweight champ since claiming the strap earlier this year, Cruz since avenged that loss, to Urijah Faber, twice — including his most recent win, a unanimous-decision victory at UFC 199 in June.

The 135-pound kingpin has taken extensive time off during his UFC run due to injuries, not fighting in 2012, ’13 or ’15 but has won both of his 2016 fights by decision. This will be his first chance to appear as a PPV headliner, even if Nunes-Rousey is going to be the main attraction.

Garbrandt has won all three of his 2016 fights by knockout, beating Augusto Mendes and Thomas Almeida before quickly dispatching Mizugaki and telling a nearby Cruz, “I’m gonna break your jaw” after said display. Garbrandt hasn’t lost since 2012, in his final amateur bout.

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