Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight kingpins T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt clashed last night (Aug. 4, 2018) at UFC 227 inside Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
The story regarding Dillashaw and Garbrandt’s rivalry, first fight, and general relationship has been repeated ad nauseam, so I think we can afford to skip most of the recapping. The true bottom line for this fight was simple: the two best bantamweights in the world — who just so happen to be vicious knockout artists — were stepping into the cage a second time, and that alone made it worth-watching.
Dillashaw came out in a low stance to start the fight. The former champion was more active with kicks to start, throwing both snap kicks up the middle and round kicks. A couple minutes into the round, both men landed simultaneous hooks that seemed to hurt. A minute later, Garbrandt rocked the champion but was too aggressive in the follow up, which allowed Dillashaw to land a hook of his own that badly rocked the challenger as well.
Garbrandt managed to survive, but he was still wobbly on his feet.
Dillashaw continued to apply patient pressure, looking to land a kill shot methodically. Any time Dillashaw got close, Garbrandt fired wildly, but Dillashaw continued to find a home for the counter right hook. Eventually, it brought an end to the bout, as Garbrandt was unable to recover from Dillashaw’s barrage.
Once again, the Southpaw right hook proved to be Dillashaw’s kill shot. He’s correct that Garbrandt likes to lead with the cross, and fading back — or jumping to an angle past the cross — and firing a right hook has proven to be an effective counter strategy to that weapon.
Over and over, Dillashaw kept landing the Southpaw right hook, the same punch that Garbrandt himself used to hurt Dominick Cruz.
Moving forward, Dillashaw has really proven himself a great champion, arguably undefeated since 2013 considering how close his title match with Cruz was. Next up should be Marlon Moraes, who seriously deserves a title shot and would make for an insane kickboxing match. At the same time, Cejudo called for a super fight, and that would be a fun match up as well.
As for Garbrandt, he was fighting great. Kicking at range and surprising Dillashaw with bursts, Garbrandt was landing the harder shots early in the fight and did rock his opponent before Dillashaw turned the table. The issue came after hurting Dillashaw, as Garbrandt swarmed without enough respect for his opponent’s counter punching. Dillashaw’s counter hook landed, and after being rocked, Garbrandt still tried to stay on the offensive when he would’ve been better off circling and trying to survive the round.
The silver lining is that Garbrandt is still five years younger than Dillashaw at 27 years old. After these losses, he’ll be back in the mix at 135 lbs. against someone other than Dillashaw, which should prove valuable in helping him grow his skill set as he works toward another title opportunity.
Last night, TJ Dillashaw violently ended his rivalry. What’s next for the Bantamweight king?
For complete UFC 227: “Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!