Saturday night in New York City at UFC 217, former Alpha Male teammates now bitter rivals met in the cage to settle what had become a very personal score.
Bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and former 135lb champ T.J. Dillashaw have been feuding for what seems like an eternity in MMA terms. It all stemmed from Dillashaw leaving Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male to continue working with Duane Ludwig, back when Dillashaw still held the belt.
A coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter 25 did nothing to smooth things over. The pair were originally scheduled to battle it out over the Summer, but an injury pushed the fight back. Finally, at UFC 217, Garbrandt and Dillashaw would get the opportunity to settle their differences in the octagon. Who would get the upper hand in Saturday’s bantamweight title fight?
Dillashaw immediately put his smooth stance changes on display to start the bout, and he would press the action early. Dillashaw would utilize a number of leg kicks, while Garbrandt would answer back with his hands. Garbrandt would unleash a flurry of strikes with just over two minutes remaining in the first, putting Dillashaw in trouble. As T.J. escaped, Garbrandt would try to wave him in, but Dillashaw refused to take the bait. The champ seemed to find his range while the round wore on, and possessed the more powerful strikes, while Dillashaw had the edge in speed and footwork. Garbrandt proved that point just before the rounded ended, catching Dillashaw with a counter right that dropped him.
After being saved by the bell to end the first round, T.J. Dillashaw needed to regroup and get back to his game plan in the second. Garbrandt would opt to play head games, waving Dillashaw in like a matador early in the round after his opponent whiffed on an attack. Dillashaw would take some momentum back with a big head kick that dropped the champion! He’d follow up with a couple of punches, but Garbrandt survived.
That may have been the beginning of the end, however. T.J. Dillashaw, the flow of the fight now on his side, went on the attack. In an exchange, a thunderous right hook floored Garbrandt; Dillashaw jumped on the fallen champion and added blow after blow until Big Dan waved the fight off.
Your new UFC bantamweight champion, once again, T.J. Dillashaw!
Prior to the result, a member of Dillashaw’s corner was seen screaming at Cody Garbrandt, infuriating the now-former bantamweight champion. Afterwards, Dillashaw called out flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, saying he’d stop the 125lb’ers title defense streak.
T.J. Dillashaw def. Cody Garbrandt by knockout, Round 2, 2:41