It took three rounds and some change last night at UFC Fight Night Chicago for UFC Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw to prove that his win over Renan Barao back in May of 2014 was no fluke.
The champion wasted no time getting things going in the first round but it was Barao that landed the harder shots in the first few minutes making the crowd think, just for a moment, that this is the Barao we were supposed to see fourteen months ago when he lost the title to Dillashaw. TJ quickly reminded us that was not the case as he showcased lightning quick “Bang” Ludwig-style striking and articulate angles on Barao reminding him why he had the belt.
It was more of the same in Round 2 as after a few attempted takedowns from both fighters, it was more superb striking from Dillashaw that would close the round out as Barao looked like a fighter that had already lost the fight. “I thought he looked like he was out of the fight until he started hitting me again,” said Dillashaw. “Barao’s a killer.”
The third round was all Dillashaw as he put a striking clinic on Barao while also wearing him down in the clinch against the cage. The fight was almost over in the end of the round as well with Dillashaw landing a few flush shots to the Brazilian as the horn sounded and Barao hobbled back to his corner.
It took 30 seconds into the fourth when Dillashaw stunned Barao with a left hook, and it was almost twenty unanswered shots later from Dillashaw that referee Herb Dean stepped in calling a stop to the magnificent main event fight.
“I always push the pace and thought I started out to fast,” said Dillashaw. “I’m glad I got the finish quicker than last time, but there are still some things I need to work on.”
The second win over Barao puts an end to that chapter as the talks begin as to who TJ will face next. With number one contender Dominick Cruz still injured, a rematch with Raphael Assuncao may be next up for the champ later this year.
In the co-main event of the night, after taking some damage early in the round from heavy-hitter Jessica Eye, Miesha Tate showed why experience may have a slight advantage over sheer power, as the former Strikeforce champion put a beating on Eye, regaining her number one bantamweight contender spot and will get the winner of the UFC women’s bantamweight title fight at UFC 190 between Bethe Correia and current champion, Ronda Rousey.
It was all Eye in the first half of round 1, as Tate could not avoid getting tagged over and over, but it was all “Cupcake” in the final two minutes as she dropped Eye with a huge over hand right and pounced on her to finish the round.
The second round was one of the most entertaining rounds of the evening, as Tate landed another right midway through the round dropping Eye again. It was Eye though that quickly caught Tate in an armless triangle but was unable to submit her as Tate broke free and worked on a neck crank of her own, then transitioning into a guillotine attempt but was unable to secure that as the round ended.
It was a late takedown and a rear naked choke attempt in the final round along with vicious kicks to the body that would earn Tate another W and another shot at the title most likely in December. “My ultimate goal is to get the gold,” said Tate. “But of course I wouldn’t mind punching Ronda again.”
It was all spins and kicks as lightweights Edson Barboza and Paul Felder did not disappoint in their Fight of the Night, putting on a striking clinic for those watching. Barboza would go on to take home the unanimous decision win over the previously undefeated Felder. “I knew he was an excellent striker, but I train with the best in the world,” said Barboza. “I hope the UFC gives me someone higher ranked.”
And kicking off the night’s main card on Fox, Joe Lauzon played the part of the referee for a moment as he knocked out Japanese superstar, Takanori Gomi in the first round and stood up for his walk off before real referee Herb Dean had officially stopped the fight. “I jumped the gun a bit,” explained Lauzon. “I got off, knew he was unconscious and it was over.”