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UFC Fight Night 81: Cruz edges Dillashaw to recapture bantamweight crown

Dominick Cruz put in a vintage performance as he defeated TJ Dillashaw in a razor-thin 5-round battle to recapture the UFC bantamweight crown at UFC Fight Night 81.

Cruz used his elusive footwork to frustrate Dillashaw into missing many of his strikes and utilized timely takedowns in close rounds.

Dillashaw landed leg kicks which hobbled Cruz late, but it wasn’t enough. The judges scored it 48-47, 46-49, and 49-46 for Cruz.

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Cruz and DIllashaw secured Fight-of-the-Night honours , while Luke Sanders and Ed Herman scored performances-of-the-night. All four fighters each earned an additional $50,000 bonus.

MMA Crossfire Expert Kenai Andrews checks in with her thoughts on the main card.

UFC Fight Night 81
Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

TSN 5 MAIN CARD 

ROSS PEARSON VS FRANCISCO TRINALDO

UFC Fight Night 81
Opponents Ross Pearson of England and Francisco Trinaldo of Brazil face off during the UFC weigh-in at the Wang Theatre on January 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

WINNER: FRANCISO TRINALDO VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

WISEMAN PREDICTION: FRANCISCO TRINALDO VIA TKO

ANDREWS: Trinaldo fought intelligently, counterpunching Pearson’s aggressive attempts and landing powerful kicks. Pearson tried to find openings and landed some shots, but it wasn’t enough. Good performance by the Brazilian.

#6 TRAVIS BROWNE VS #14 MATT MITRIONE 

UFC Fight Night 81
Opponents Travis Browne and Matt Mitrione face off during the UFC weigh-in at the Wang Theatre on January 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

WINNER: TRAVIS BROWNE VIA TKO R3 4:09

WISEMAN PREDICTION: MATT MITRIONE VIA TKO

ANDREWS: Browne’s kicks and length neutralized Mitrione, who could not close the distance. A couple of eye pokes by Browne didn’t help either. A point should have been deducted, but Browne’s versatility made the difference.

#1 ANTHONY PETTIS VS #4 EDDIE ALVAREZ

UFC Fight Night 81
Opponents Anthony Pettis and Eddie Alvarez face off during the UFC weigh-in at the Wang Theatre on January 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

WINNER: EDDIE ALVAREZ VIA SPLIT-DECISION (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

WISEMAN PREDICTION: ANTHONY PETTIS VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION

ANDREWS: Alvarez used the Rafael dos Anjos gameplan to nullify Pettis. Anthony needs to come up with something, because everyone now is going to try the same thing.

MAIN EVENT

(C) TJ DILLASHAW VS DOMINICK CRUZ 

UFC Fight Night 81
Opponents TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz face off during the UFC weigh-in at the Wang Theatre on January 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

WINNER: IN PROGRESS

WISEMAN PREDICTION: DOMINICK CRUZ VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION

ANDREWS:

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@Casmma365

KenaiAndrewshttps://www.mmacrossfire.com
Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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