The main event of tonight's (Sat., May 24, 2014) UFC 173: "Barao vs. Dillashaw" pay-per-view (PPV) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, featured Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao hoping to defend his title -- and win his 23rd fight in a row -- against the latest trumped up challenger, TJ Dillashaw.
At least, that's what the odds told us.
The odds were wrong.
Dillashaw proved himself capable in the first round, surprising everyone with a striking presence that Barao had no answer for. He was tagging the champion fairly consistently, repeatedly landing clean, hard punches.
Then, an overhand right came down with perfect timing and accuracy that landed with a thud -- it sounded like a gunshot -- and put the Brazilian flat on his back. Dillashaw couldn't get the finish, either by way of strikes or a submission he threatened with in the waning moments, but he dominated the opening round.
Barao managed to make a small comeback of sorts in the second round, but it didn't last long and Dillashaw went right back to dominating the bout. He was teeing off on the champ, bloodying his face and befuddling a man who, prior to tonight, had never looked out of his element.
He did here.
Really, he looked slower and like he never quite recovered from that ridiculous shot he absorbed at the tail end of the first round. It also appeared as though some measure of fatigue set in late in the fourth while Dillashaw was as fresh and dangerous as he was at the start.
By the time they got to the fifth and final frame, the tables had turned so completely Barao was the heavy underdog in need of a miracle finish to retain his title while Dillashaw looked like the dominant king of the division who couldn't be stopped.
He put a stamp on it in that fifth round, destroying Barao with heavy shots and finally earning the finish after an onslaught of punches.
Dillashaw left no doubt: He is the man at 135-pounds.
Here's the reaction of his corner to the finish:
WOWWWWWWW https://t.co/9lA45DDARL— UFC (@ufc) May 25, 2014
Come and get it.
For complete UFC 173 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.