What a performance by TJ Dillashaw at UFC 173.
The Team Alpha Male bantamweight flustered Renan Barao for almost 5 rounds to win the UFC bantamweight championship by TKO in Las Vegas.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfie Expert Cassie Wiseman breaks down the card:
UFC FIGHT PASS EARLY PRELIMS
DAVID “BULLDAWG” MICHAUD VS LI “THE LEECH” JINGLIANG
WINNER: LI JINGLIANG VIA SPLIT-DECISION.
Wiseman: The surprise of the fight was how Michaud out-grappled Li. Michaud used his wrestling to score takedowns and do some damage on the mat. Another surprise was Li’s striking game. He opened up and showed he isn’t only a grappler in the second round. Then scoring a reversal in the final round to finish in top position. Michaud put on a hard battle considering he took the fight on short notice, but ultimately Li was the fighter with the better gas tank and better skills.
SAM SICILLA VS AARON “THE MODEL” PHILLIPS
WINNER: SAM SICILIA VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: Phillips came out in the first round with a couple nasty body kicks and that caused Sicilia to rethink his plan. Sicilia came out in the second and third using his grappling to take away the distance Phillips needed. Sicilia was relentless with his wrestling and grinding for both rounds which gave him the decision win. Phillips showed great promise, but needs to get better with stuffing takedowns and getting off his back.
ANTHONY “THE ASSASSIN” NJOKUANI VS VINC “FROM HELL” PICHEL
WINNER: VINCE PICHEL VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION.
Wiseman: The story of this fight was the takedowns/slams of Pichel. Njokuani couldn’t get his Muay Thai going as Pichel plunged forward for the clinch, then a slam. On the mat Pichel was able to get in full mount, have back control, do whatever he wanted. Rounds two and three really were the Vince Pichel show. Njokuani could not stuff takedowns, and did not have enough gas to get off his back.
SPORTSNET 360 PRELIMS
AL “RAGING” IAQUINTA VS MITCH “DANGER ZONE” CLARKE
WINNER: MITCH CLARKE VIA SUBMISSION.
Wiseman: Iaquinta took the first round, easily dominating the top position. The second round he went for another takedown and while moving to get into a better position, Clarke executed an offensive D’Arce choke from the bottom, putting Iaquinta to sleep. Absolutely fantastic! At the end of the fight Clarke spoke into the camera saying, “Don’t sleep on me.” Certainly a good message for future opponents.
CHRIS HOLDSWORTH VS CHICO CAMUS
WINNER: CHRIS HOLDSWORTH VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION.
Wiseman: As was true while Holdsworth was on TUF, his ground game is something to deal with. Camus is a talented fighter who is always dangerous, but was forced to defend for the entire 15 minutes of the match. Holdsworth scored takedowns in each round and stayed in dominant positions while on top made it impossible for Camus to do anything other then defend. Beautiful performance by Holdsworth.
TONY FERGUSON VS KATSUNORI KIKUNO
WINNER: TONY FERGUSON VIA TKO.
Wiseman: No surprises here. Ferguson’s striking is always dangerous and Kikuno’s stance has problems, he has no head movement and he has his hands low. Two things which Ferguson used to his advantage. Ferguson was patient, he didn’t rush when he saw Kikuno was hurt, and picked his shots wisely. The perfect battle for Ferguson.
MICHEAL CHIESA VS FRANCISCO TRINALDO
WINNER: MICHAEL CHIESA VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION.
Wiseman: The ground game of Chiesa is just too much for most. His ability to mount and stick to his opponent, his ground-and-pound, nasty elbows, etc. just make it a horrible match for his opponents. Trinaldo, every time he was taken down, just wasn’t able to do anything. Chiesa still has room for growth in his striking, if/when this happens, he will certainly be a danger for anyone in the division.
JAMIE VARNER VS JAMES KRAUSE
WINNER: JAMES KRAUSE VIA TKO.
Wiseman: This was expected to be a nasty fight, but Krause broke the ankle of Varner in the beginning of the first round. Varner is a nasty, tough guy. He kept fighting through the round even though he couldn’t stand on his foot. What a disappointment because it was a fight that I was looking forward to, and it’s always bad when there is a break like that, but it was because of the kicks of Krause.
#6 TAKEYA MIZUGAKI VS #10 FRANCISCO “CISCO” RIVERA
WINNER: TAKEYA MIZUGAKI VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION.
Wiseman: Hard luck for Rivera.
#1 ROBBIE LAWLER VS #5 JAKE ELLENBERGER
WINNER:ROBBIE LAWLER VIA TKO.
Wiseman: Ellenberger hasn’t really impressed me in his last two fights. Against Rory, Jake didn’t show up. Tonight against Robbie he didn’t start letting go until the end of the second round, then in the beginning of the third. Lawler looked better from beginning to TKO end. His striking, knees, kicks, and ability to get up off the mat were fantastic. Just looked like he was in a different class. Lawler finished the fight in perfect fashion and has shown that he is hungry to another title shot.
#4 DANIEL “DC” CORMIER” VS #6 DAN “HENDO” HENDERSON
WINNER: DANIEL CORMIER VIA SUBMISSION.
Wiseman: There was no surprise in thus match as DC is the bigger, heavier fighter. Henderson tends to rely too much on his power, but it’s because he’s had so much success. The wrestling was too much and it was too much weight for nearly 15 mins. Cormier calling out Jones was over the top for me. He needs to fight Evans, Texeira, or Gustaffson if Jones remains the champ. He needs a top-5 opponent before we can really see if he stands a chance against Jones.
RENAN “THE BARON” BARAO VS #4 TJ DILLASHAW
WINNER: TJ DILLASHAW VIA TKO.
Wiseman: There’s confidence, but then there’s what Dillashaw displayed tonight. The first round we saw a very relaxed Dillashaw rock Barao and almost got the finish. This continued throughout the fight as Dillashaw’s foot work and versatility in striking kept Barao guessing. The idea being that Barao would gas if Dillashaw remained constant. What happened? Dillashaw scored a TKO over Barao in the final round. A fantastic show of skill shown by Dillashaw.