LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas witnessed Cody Garbrandt’s electrifying performance as he secured a first-round knockout victory over Brian Kelleher during the UFC 296 preliminary card at the iconic T-Mobile Arena. Garbrandt, a former bantamweight champion, showcased his prowess for the second time in 2023, marking a triumphant return after a challenging period from 2017 to 2022.
Cody Garbrandt vs. Brian Kelleher
Result: Cody Garbrandt def. Brian Kelleher via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:42
Updated Records: Garbrandt (14-5 MMA, 9-5 UFC), Kelleher (24-15 MMA, 8-8 UFC)
Key Stats: Garbrandt has accumulated an impressive 11 out of his 14 victories through stoppages, with each of them culminating in spectacular knockouts.
Garbrandt Reflects on the Fight’s Pivotal Moment
“I think any time you get a win inside the octagon is up there, especially good to finish against a guy like Brian Kelleher. He’s very dangerous. It was a very dangerous fight for me to take. I knew what was at stake with all that transpired from the injuries and the setbacks, and the same with him. That’s why I told him after the fight, ‘Hey, you’re a warrior. You worked your way back to here.’ I had a lot of respect for him.”
Garbrandt Acknowledges His Mother’s Influence
“I’ve been counted out my whole life. Luckily, I had an amazing mother, a strong mother that raised us and never let us quit in anything. I’m just so thankful for her, the way that she raised us, the way that she made us strong because this world, it can knock you down and keep you down. But I’ve had that my whole entire life. This camp and since I moved out here to Vegas, I’ve just been trying to grab momentum and get it rolling and get back to the top.”
Garbrandt Sets His Sights on the Future
“I would love to fight Deiveson Figueiredo. I think that’s a great fight – two former world champions. He’s now in the bantamweight division. That’s a fight that should have happened years ago. I was obviously taken out by COVID, but flyweight is not my weight – bantamweight is. I feel really good here. I love that fight. I talked to Sean (Shelby) about it. He’s all for it. UFC 300 – I think that would be an amazing, amazing card to put us on.”
“(It’s good when) something excites me. It gets me hungry. It gets me motivated and driven to go in there and face one of the best flyweights that came up with the bantamweight former world champion. We’re both on our way back to the top. That’s what we want. That’s why we’re in this sport to be the best. I think trailblazing through him puts me right to the top.”