TJ Dillashaw Shocks the World at UFC 173
Coming into UFC 173, Renan Barao had not lost a bout since April 2005. He had never been dominated in a full bout in his entire career. TJ Dillashaw did both, and more on Saturday night. Dillashaw baffled and picked apart Barao for four rounds before destroying him in the 5th round with head kicks and punches on his way to winning the UFC Bantamweight title over the highly favored Brazilian.
Barao was a massive favorite over Dillashaw. In some books, he was a 10-1 favorite. The Vegas odds listed Dillashaw as -580 on fight night. Barao had gone on one of the longest winning streaks in MMA history by winning 22 straight matches and being undefeated for nearly 10 years. The only blot on his decade has been a no contest in 2007 when Barao was unable to continue after getting hit by an illegal soccer kick. Apart from that, Barao had been spotless since losing his first ever MMA bout.
Renan Barao entered the bout as the 4th best pound for pound fighter in the planet. Dana White called Barao the “best fighter in the world” and “the scariest”. White was short of calling him a cold blooded murderer in the Octagon. Barao had demolished one great contender after another. He beat Urijah Faber twice, Michael MacDonald and Eddie Wineland among others. And Barao didn’t just beat them, he owned all of his opponents- Except TJ Dillashaw.
Shocking the World
When TJ Dillashaw got the call to fight for the world title at UFC 173, he told MMAHour back in April that he was “going to upset Barao and shock the world.” Of course only, Team Alpha Male believed him then. It was team captain Urijah Faber who threw out Dillashaw’s name as the next title contender after the California Kid lost to Barao in just one round in their rematch at UFC 169.
Barao was supposed to face Raphael Assuncao, who beat Dillashaw via split decision in October 2013. But Assuncao got injured, and Dillashaw was thrown into the title picture. He made the most out of it.
Dillashaw called Barao’s post fight hip swings as “disgusting dancing.” He said that he was planning” to give Barao a dance back.” But none of us thought that what Dillashaw meant was dancing in the ring during the fight. Dillashaw showed slick footwork right from the opening bell, and he baffled Barao with his fluid movement and fast hands. It seemed that Dillashaw made the mistake of putting his hands down, but it was part of the dance. He was loose and was confident of his striking.
Setting the Tone
Dillashaw set the tone in the first round when he floored Barao with a huge overhand right that nearly ended the bout. Barao was able to survive the round, but that was just a sign of the things to come. Barao was badly hurt, and he never recovered. Although Barao nailed TJ with a couple of shots that bloodied his right eye, Dillashaw came prepared for a war.
After winning the first four rounds, Barao was going for broke. But instead of coasting for the easy win, Dillashaw continued to take risks and closed out the show at the 2:26 mark of the 5th and final round.
The UFC considers Matt Serra’s victory over Georges St. Pierre at UFC 69 as the greatest upset ever. That could change in a couple of days. The biggest upset in fighting history was when a 42-1 underdog named Buster Douglas defeated Mike Tyson in 1990. The odds against Dillashaw weren’t as big, but nobody expected him to win, much more dominate against one of the best champions in the sport- not even Dana White.
Barao was the scariest champion out there, but Dillashaw played him like a kitten. Now DIllashaw owns the UFC bantanweight belt. For how long, we don’t know yet. But it’s victories like this that make this sport great and exciting.
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