Cody Garbrandt was pegged the next big thing at 135 pounds entering his two fights with T.J. Dillashaw. “No Love” had just come off of a five-round beatdown of former UFC champion Dominick Cruz so the praise was understandable.
That was until Dillashaw caught Garbrandt with a massive right hook nine months ago at UFC 217 in New York City. The punch flattened Garbrandt and allowed Dillashaw to reclaim the bantamweight title he lost to Cruz nearly two years prior.
The same outcome set the Octagon ablaze last night (Sat., Aug. 4, 2018) at UFC 227 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., as Dillashaw put a stop to Garbrandt in the very first round by landing the same right hook counter. It was a shot that solidified Dillashaw’s legacy at 135 pounds and revealed that Garbrandt, as good as he is, may still have some work to do.
“I think he has some technical problems that he needs to fix,” Dillashaw said during UFC 227’s post-fight press conference (video replay here). “And I really don’t believe he’s got a chin. He plays a dangerous game. He likes to get in there and he likes to slug it.”
In Garbrandt’s defense, he had never lost, let alone finished, in his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career before encountering Dillashaw inside of the cage. Usually, “No Love” is the one knocking his opponent out.
Garbrandt was hoping to avenge his UFC 217 title loss to Dillashaw with a masterful performance at UFC 227 last night, but Dillashaw’s intelligent game planning and Garbrandt’s lack of adjustment proved a similar outcome.
“We were planning on him throwing a right hand,” Dillashaw said. “Every time he throws a right hand, he drops his left. He’s looking to throw a left hook. He’s fast. He throws a big right, left hand. But he drops it to his pocket. So were planning on timing it.”
This was a gigantic victory for Dillashaw to say the least. He has done enough over the past five years to suggest he’s the best bantamweight of all time. Finishing Garbrandt in back-to-back fights was just icing on the cake.
“I wasn’t going to let off,” Dillashaw said. “There’s no way. I’m too mean. I’m gonna go until I win. I didn’t have a problem giving him a little extra, too. That knee was a pretty hard knee. I felt that one and that finished him off.
“I’m in too good of shape to let up the throttle. He’s not gonna be able to recover. I’m gonna be able to push the pace always.”
For complete UFC 227 results and coverage click here.