TJ Dillashaw shocked the world
Take a bow TJ Dillashaw, never have I or fellow MMA media written off a fighter to the extent as Dillashaw last weekend. But he put on one of the finest displays inside the Octagon to leave everyone speechless. Renan Barao was considered at top three pounds for pound fighter and he was dismantled by the Team Alpha Male warrior.
Renan Barao was riding a 32 fight win streak and is almost undefeated in 10 years. While Dillashaw is on a 1 fight win streak and only got the shot because simply put, there was no-one else.
TJ came into the fight as a massive underdog that in all eyes had little chance. From the opening bell, he fought as if it were he that was champion. Showcasing footwork that left Barao swinging at air while being tagged consistently.
This was unexpected but all things considered, I was still waiting for Barao to land the killer blow. But everything changed with a minute and one second left on the clock in the first round. Dillashaw came in and landed a bomb of a right hand and Barao, for the first time in his UFC career, went down.
TJ Laying It On Renan Barao
The MMA world erupted in surprise and truthfully so did I, at 5:30 in the morning. I woke the house with a shout of pure astonishment. TJ pounced on the bewildered-looking Barao, but couldn’t finish and the fight carried on. TJ sprung back to his corner as if everything was going to plan and for the first time in his career, we saw fear in the eyes of Barao.
The rest is history by now, Dillashaw continued to move and land at will. Barao was never in the fight and in the fifth round TJ landed a left high kick, that was landing at will throughout the fight. But this one put the champ down, some slick ground and pound meant TJ did what he couldn’t do in the first. And got Barao out of there with 2 minutes and 26 seconds gone in the last round.
This win not only redeems Team Alpha Male in their battle with Nova Unioa. The Brazilian camp that has denied them a belt on four occasions. But it also shows fighters that are considered mid-level that the belt is not far away.
Changing the way we view certain fighters
Dillashaw winning the strap is more than a simple win for the underdog. It`s a win for every fighter out there who`s had there lights switched off. Whether we admit it or not, when a fighter gets KO`d its very rare that we see that fighter as a title contender again. But TJ has flipped the switch and has proven just how little we know about the sport behind the scenes.
There are currently fighters out there such as Erik Silva, Brendan Schaub, and Rashad Evans. These fighters represent many and they all share a common link. They had their lights put out. Each fighter also has an incredible skill-set that can match any.
But the fact they`ve been put to sleep has forsaken them in many people’s eyes. With Dillashaw’s win against a phenom like Barao it shows us all that on any day a fighter can play his game plan perfectly, avoid danger and get the job done.
When we imagine a champion we see fighters like Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez, and Jose Also. All fighters on the P4P list and seemingly indestructible, but TJ has changed the game. And even if Barao comes back and reclaims the belt, UFC 173 happened and will never be forgotten.
Now just to show I`m not being UFC biased, TJ is not the first champion of this ilk. Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez is considered one of the very best Lightweights in the world. But Alvarez very rarely goes a fight without being dropped in some manner. Before pulling out the win in spectacular fashion as he does so often.
Now I am not on any high horse here, for myself, I have fallen into this trap, once I see a fighter go out. I expect it to happen in every fight. TJ`s win is changing the way I view fights another accomplishment that I`m sure he will be thrilled with!!
The future for Dillashaw
Now the defeated Champion Renan Barao is in a tricky spot, he has never been finished before and this has to be considered. But his skill-set is astounding and considering the last time he lost he went on a 32 fight win streak he`s odds on to bounce back and seek revenge. If he`s not granted an immediate rematch, matching him up with returning former champ Dominick Cruz is an option that would be widely accepted.
When TJ comes down off his championship high he has some tough decisions to make. Barao will be back, Raphael Assuncao is waiting in the wings and his two Alpha Male team-mates. Uriah Faber and Chris Holdsworth could both soon be in the mix for the belt.
Regardless of which way the Bantamweight division plays out it has become 100% more exciting and intriguing with the arrival of the unheralded new Champion.