Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight knockout artists Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw settled their rivalry last night (Nov. 4, 2017) at UFC 217 inside Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“No Love” shocked the world last year by rising from a promising young fighter to tooling the champion in a five-round scrap. Injuries and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) have kept him out of the cage for nearly a year, but Garbrandt was back last night in one of the most anticipated bouts of the year. Meanwhile, Dillashaw has been on fire since losing the title, winning a pair of dominant decisions over top contenders. He clearly deserved this shot, and it was practically a guaranteed barn-burner.
Once in the cage, it didn’t take long for the two athletes to go on the offensive.
Dillashaw opened the bout with a lot of stance-switching and outside movement, while Garbrandt was the one who stood in the center of the cage. Both men showed a lot of patience, refusing to be the one who made the first mistake.
Then, Garbrandt exploded into a combination that landed well. Dillashaw stood tough, however, firing back in a brief exchange that was dangerous for both athletes. Garbrandt scored with a few counters after as well, looking to punch as his foe kicked. It was a close round, but Garbrandt was the more accurate fighter.
In the last five seconds, however, everything changed. Dillashaw fired off his left, but Garbrandt slipped the shot and smashed his foe with a brutal right hand. Dillashaw hit the mat, but the bell prevented Garbrandt from chasing the finish.
Dillashaw began to load up and kick more into the second round. A head kick got through and briefly sent Garbrandt to the mat, but “No Love” bounced up almost immediately then scored with a nice pair of counter shots. However, Dillashaw did not back off, and a Southpaw right hook sent his opponent to the mat once more.
This time, the champion didn’t get back up.
This was a firefight. There were long periods of inactivity, sure, but whenever the two began to exchange, potential kill shots were being fired off by each man. Dillashaw ate one in the first round, but the bell prevented Garbrandt from following up. Even in the final exchange, Garbrandt landed a pair of hard hooks, but Dillashaw’s right landed perfectly.
It was a game of inches, and Dillashaw landed cleanest.
Aside from the pure chance that comes with those kind of exchanges, Dillashaw’s strategy of aiming for the left high kick was smart. Not only did it take advantage of Garbrandt’s lowered hands, but it also was a difficult shot to counter with punches. The left high kick that dropped “No Love” was a hard shot and smart strategy from the two-time champion.
Next up for Dillashaw is either a super fight at 125 lbs. with Demetrious Johnson — the man he called out post-fight — or a bout with the victor of Dominick Cruz vs. Jimmie Rivera. Either way, it will be an amazing fight.
As for Garbrandt, this is his game. He’s an aggressive boxer who’s willing to take both a shot and chances. It’s part of his style, and the best — possibly only? — way to defeat Garbrandt is to knock him out.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.
On the bright side, Garbrandt is still in the immediate title mix. A rematch with Dillashaw somewhere down the line is not a hard sell, nor is Garbrandt with literally any other top contender.
Last night, TJ Dillashaw knocked out his opponent to recapture the Bantamweight crown. What’s next for Dillashaw?
For complete UFC 217: “Bisping vs. St-Pierre” results and play-by-play, click HERE!