Dillashaw shocks the oddsmakers at UFC 173 event
New bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw celebrates his TKO win over opponent Renan Barao (not pictured) following their UFC 173 bantamweight championship bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena, May 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV. (Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)
Everyone likes a good upset — especially ones of the epic variety. UFC 173 from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last Saturday provided just that. Renan Barao (32-2-1), who hadn’t lost since 2005 and was on a 32-fight win streak, put his UFC bantamweight title on the line against T.J. Dillashaw (10-2), who was considered an underdog by the Vegas oddsmakers.
Many, including myself, didn’t feel Dillashaw even deserved a title shot, but none of that matters now because he put on the performance of a lifetime.
From the opening bell, Dillashaw was bouncing around the cage and hitting the champ from all angles. Barao ate a big right hand with about 50 seconds remaining in the first round and fell to the canvas. Although he recovered enough to continue fighting, he was never the same.
Dillashaw continued to pour the pressure on for the remainder of the fight and finally in the fifth and final round the 10-1 underdog rocked Barao again. Dillashaw started pounding away on a downed Barao until referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight. The crowd went nuts and a new UFC bantamweight champion was crowned.
Barao appeared slow, and whether or not that was related to taking his opponent lightly or the big punch he ate in the first round, everything that we expected to see out of Barao we saw Dillashaw execute to perfection.
As for what is next, I fully expect Barao to get a rematch. There is also Raphael Assunção, who beat Dillashaw back in October and he could be ready to step in as the next challenger for the title. UFC president Dana White would like to see a rematch.
In other action, Robbie Lawler defeated Jake Ellenberger via a third-round TKO. It was a nice win for Lawler, who was coming off a tough loss to UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.
Daniel Cormier did his best imitation of a grizzly bear when he mauled Dan Henderson. At one point Cormier picked Henderson up, and in highlight reel fashion, slammed Hendo to the canvas.
Eventually, Cormier slapped on a rear-naked choke in the third round and sent Henderson to dream land. In my opinion, Cormier should get the winner of Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, which is rumoured for UFC 170 in August.