The bad blood between former Team Alpha Male training partners, Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw, is as real as it gets — their rivalry is super intense, which was as clear as crystal when the two coached the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). The good news is that the two Bantamweight bad asses were given the opportunity to settle their score once and for all in the co-main event tonight (Sat., Niv. 4, 2017) at UFC 217, which took place inside Madison Square Garden in New York City.
And the actual fight more than lived up to the lofty expectations, with Dillashaw weathering an early knockdown — and near first round finish — to storm back and knockout Garbrandt in the second round to reclaim his Bantamweight belt.
It was awesome.
Dillashaw came out switching stances and swerving from side-to-side, looking to throw off Garbrandt, who was not impressed. Dillashaw waded in with some looping kicks and Garbrandt fired off a shot that connected. Midway through the first round and there wasn’t much action until Garbrandt finally exploded with a barrage of punches that sent Dillashaw back up against the cage. He was able to block most of the punches, but a few slipped in and sent the message that Garbrandt isn’t messing around. Dillashaw pressed the action late, but didn’t really score with anything. And just as the round was ending, Garbrandt dropped him with a vicious right hook. He missed on the ensuing kill shots and Dillashaw — riding wobbly and weak legs — was saved by the bell as he stumbled back to his corner in a daze.
Dillashaw came out for the second stanza flat-footed, loading up on his kicks and looking to land something hard. And he did just that, clipping Garbrandt with a head kick and sending him down to the mat briefly. Garbrandt recovered quickly, though, and landed a solid combination that stopped Dillashaw in his tracks. In a wild exchange shortly thereafter, Dillashaw clipped Garbrandt with a right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas. He followed Garbrandy down to the mat and landed about 10 head bouncers before the referee finally peeled him off a semi-conscious Garbrandt. Dillashaw, clearly emotional, got back to his feet and screamed at Garbrandt, who clearly had no idea what the hell was going on. Tensions soon dissipated and the two congratulated each other, but it was clear that “No Love” was on auto pilot.
Indeed, Dillashaw busted him up pretty good. Not only taking back his 135-pound world title, but also solidifying pride, honor and bragging rights until the inevitable rematch. And it can’t come soon enough — what a great rivalry ... and fight.
For complete UFC 217 results, including play-by-play coverage, click here.