If you talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.
UFC 173: "Barao vs. Dillashaw" took place last Sat. night (May 24, 2014) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in the main event, T.J. Dillashaw upset Renan Barao to win the UFC bantamweight championship.
"The Viper" put on a clinic, battering the Brazilian from start to finish, and even rocked him badly in the first round. Dillashaw stopped the former bantamweight kingpin with punches in the fifth round to earn his first ever championship, while bringing gold to Team Alpha Male's headquarters for the very first time (check out the highlights here).
Daniel Cormier inched closer to the light heavyweight title after dismantling Dan Henderson in the co-main event, submitting the veteran with a rear-naked choke in the third round. "DC" looked outstanding, as he outmuscled "Hendo" for the majority of the fight, proving his wrestling was indeed superior (watch highlights here).
Robbie Lawler scored a technical knockout finish over Jake Ellenberger in the third round of their main card match up, and a second welterweight title shot may be on the horizon sooner, rather than later (peep the highlights here).
Unfortunately for Ellenberger, his status as a top contender slipped through the cracks.
Before all the mixed martial arts (MMA) action unfolded inside the Octagon, there were promotional appearances to generate awareness for -- and interest in -- a trip to "Sin City." Fighters said this and that, answering questions galore when all they really wanted to do is be left alone and not be bothered.
MMAmania.com does a pretty good job of passing along all the noteworthy pre- and post-fight comments for each event. But as we've done before, let us look back at the words that left the fighters' mouths before they stepped into the cage last Sat. night.
"I just couldn't sleep at all, everything was going through my head about how things are going to change. In my mind, I am going to be the new UFC champion of the world. I get chills being the one who has a chance to bring that belt back to Sacramento and Team Alpha Male under Duane Ludwig. Duane is my coach and it works out perfect that he is going to be able to leave with a title under his belt."
-- Could you have predicted a better ending?
"The Viper" seemed to be the only one who believed he could beat Barao, and to make the deal even sweeter, he awarded his coach Duane "Bang" Ludwig with a title in his very last night of work for Team Alpha Male.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is what fairy tales are made of.
"I don't care who I fight against. If it is him, it's because the UFC thinks that he is the right opponent for me right now. I'm here to fight. He's a good fighter, a tough opponent. I'm just here to do my job and get a win."
-- Maybe Barao was simply tired of being asked the same questions; however, he seemed a little too calm before his main event bout.
The Brazilian will definitely be back, but last night was a tough pill to swallow, and he's knows what type of work he needs to put in to get another crack at the title.
"I believe I can be the champion. He's won everything. He won in PRIDE, he's won in Strikeforce. Dan Henderson's been a model for everything I want to be in this sport. I'm excited to test myself against him, I really am. Initially, I didn't want to fight him because I kind of idolize the guy but you know what, man, once the ink dries on the bout agreement, you just put them in the cage and I'll beat them up."
-- We don't always need two fighters to hate each other before their bout. The pre-fight musings between both competitors was fun to watch, yet Cormier wasn't joking when he said he was going to beat up "Hendo." Not only was it a rout, it was the best performance of "DC's" career.
Where you at, Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson?
"I've been a fan of his since he started and always root for him. The way he fights, the way he represents the sport, I think he's going to do great things in this sport. But I think he's going to do great things in this sport later after I beat him up. He's really explosive and he mixes it up really well. It's just a matter of defending those takedowns, defending those punches, and punching him in his face."
It just wasn't the Temecula native's night, plain and simple.
Henderson wasn't able to beat up his adversary, nor defend the takedowns. As a matter of fact, he was thrown around worse than you would have expected.
That said, do we really need to see "Hendo" compete again?
"I think that's been a little bit overblown. You beat a guy like Bobby Voelker, a few guys who were not top 10 guys, he had an impressive win over Koscheck, who also hadn't had a big win in a really long time. I'm getting an opportunity to fight the No. 1 [contender] in the world, it couldn't be better. For me, it's definitely a pretty big fight. It's going to get me closer to the gold."
-- Surely, Ellenberger will want to take those words back.
He didn't have anything in his toolbox to trouble Lawler, except for a few wild punches when they stood toe-to-toe. Unfortunately for "The Juggernaut," he's pretty far from a title shot, and after his second lackluster performance in a row, he may have to hit the panic button soon.
That's a wrap.
For extensive coverage of UFC 173: "Barao vs. Dillashaw," check out our live story stream featuring highlights, video recaps, and in-depth results right here.