To watch Dominick Cruz vs. T.J. Dillashaw full fight video highlights from last night click here.
"The Dominator" is back.
Dominick Cruz (21-1) regained the Bantamweight title, defeating T.J. Dillashaw (12-3) via split decision at UFC Fight Night 81 last night inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
It was a vintage performance by Cruz, 30, who moved in and out, showcasing his accurate striking arsenal for 25 minutes and mixed in some key takedowns when needed. The split decision was a somewhat questionable one. Two judges had it 48-47 and 49-46 for Cruz, with the third scoring it 49-46 for Dillashaw.
"Honestly, nobody is retiring me but me, I've been through too much," Cruz told Joe Rogan after the fight's conclusion.
An momentous victory for Cruz, who was never defeated in the Octagon and had to relinquish the bantamweight title due to an extended layoff from various injuries that began over four years ago after a win over Demetrious Johnson back in 2011.
The first round unfolded as most expected. Both fighters used a ton of movement and moved and circled at a frenetic pace. Cruz was the more accurate striker of the two and landed more than Dillashaw over the course of the opening five minutes. He also scored a takedown after catching a kick.
In the second, Cruz continued to move in and out and land more than Dillashaw. The No.1-ranked UFC bantamweight landed a double-leg taken as Dillashaw came rushing in, and as Dillashaw got up he took him down a second time. However, Cruz could not capitalize and Dillashaw made it back to his feet.
Dillashaw came out aggressive in the third, but Cruz was unaffected. Dillashaw slowed down a bit and Cruz continued to find success by moving in and out with well-timed strikes and landing a key double-leg takedown as well. When Dillashaw did land he had little success. As the horn sounded, Cruz landed a big right hand.
The fourth round was Dillashaw's best. He landed a huge leg kick that hurt Cruz and Cruz immediately went in on a takedown and got it. Dillahshaw popped back up soon after. Dillashaw landed his first takedown of the fight, but Cruz was able to scramble back up to his feet. Dillashaw began to bleed from above his left eye.
In the final frame, Dillashaw landed a head kick early, but could not follow it up or gain control. He was able to land another big kick to the left leg of Cruz, who was switching his stance to protect it. Dillashaw came on strong, but Cruz continued to do what he did the entire bout, and continued his fluid movement and accurate combinations.
Incredible win for Cruz, who hadn't fought in over a year since defeating Takeya Mizugaki back in September of 2014. The win was only his second fight since defeating Johnson in October of 2011. Cruz is now 4-0 in the UFC.
A disappointing loss for Dillashaw, who is still one of the best bantamweights in the division and fought valiantly. Cruz was just too good for him tonight. He falls to 8-3 in the UFC and has his four-fight winning streak snapped.
For complete UFC Fight Night 81: "Dillashaw vs Cruz" results, including play-by-play updates, click here.