A lot has changed in the world of Mixed Martial Arts since the last time the UFC visited Chicago, IL. It’s been nineteen months since the world’s best stars took over the United Center in the Windy City, and this Saturday, July 25th, they plan to do it all again, except this time one of the sport’s biggest rematches is headlining the night.
In what was surely one of the best fights and best upsets in 2014, current UFC Bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw (12-2-0) came into UFC 173 and completely desecrated the then bantamweight champion Renan Barao (35-2-0) in every aspect of the fight. Their main event rematch on Saturday will be the third attempt to get this fight done as Baroa was pulled from UFC 177 due to weight cutting issues and then Dillashaw had to pull out of UFC 186 due to an injury.
So who wins this fight? Barao is known for his lightning- fast combinations and his ferocious intensity that usually overwhelms his opponents. We didn’t see that from him in the Dillashaw fight. Barao took an intense amount of damage in the first fight, so if he wants to win his title back, he will need to find a way to avoid taking as much damage this time around and find an opening to attack and capitalize on that.
As for Dillashaw, it’s been one month shy of a year since he has been in the cage. I don’t think ring rust will be an issue for him as he is coming off a camp training with one of the best teams in MMA, Team Alpha Male. In that camp, Dillashaw was side by side with teammate Chad Mendes as he prepared for his title fight with Conor McGregor just a few weeks ago. And having seen Mendes’s game plan executed in his title fight, shines light on the fact that the current UFC Bantamweight champ will most likely be just as prepared for this rematch as well.
In the night’s co-main event, there are title contender implications on the line for the UFC women’s bantamweight title as well as Jessica Eye (11-2-0) looks to upset former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight champion and #2 ranked bantamweight, Miesha Tate (16-5-0). Having split her last two fights in the UFC, if Eye want to get to the current bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, she will need to use her dominant striking power over Tate and avoid her takedowns at all cost.
Tate’s last loss was to Rousey back in December of 2013. If she beats Eye on Saturday, she will most likely get the winner of the UFC 190: Rousey vs Correia. Tate isn’t quiet about how she would love a crack at Rousey for the third time to get the title, but she will need to get through Eye first and coming off of three wins by judges decision, will have to pull out all the stops as Eye’s offense may prove too strong for her in this fight.
Also on the main card at UFC Fight Night Chicago, lightweights Edson Barboza and Paul Felder are looking for more highlight-reel knockouts as Felder is coming off a spinning backhand knockout over Danny Castillo earlier this year and Barboza is most known for his spinning heel kick knockout back in 2013.
And kicking the night’s main card action off, fan favorite, Joe Louzon will take on Japanese superstar, Takanori Gomi in the lightweight division.
UFC Fight Night Chicago: Dillashaw vs. Barao 2 is Saturday, July 25th live on Fox. Prelims start at 6pm ET with the main card at 8pm ET.