About 14 months ago, T.J. Dillashaw took the UFC bantamweight belt away from Renan Barao in one of the most shocking upsets in MMA history. Tonight in the main event of UFC on FOX 16, the two met again at the United Center in Chicago, this time with Dillashaw as the champion and Barao as the challenger.
Barao started early with two high kicks. He also caught Dillashaw with a hard left hand counter shot and then knees to the body. Strong jabs by Dillashaw and then a knee stung Barao. Another hard shot hurt the challenger and the two tied up in the clinch. Barao threw some knees to the body on the inside. Dillashaw caught a kick and threw two punches but couldn’t get the takedown, and then missed on a big head kick. From the southpaw stance, Dillashaw peppered Barao’s face with hard jabs. A beautiful head kick by Dillashaw was set up with a feint. Barao tagged Dillashaw multiple times but TJ ate them just fine.
Dillashaw followed the advice of his coaches and stayed on the outside instead of engaging in inside exchanges. He shot in for a takedown on Barao, who’d never been taken down in the UFC, and Barao stuffed it. The champ broke from the clinch with a hard elbow. Barao caught Dillashaw off-guard and got his own takedown but Dillashaw sprung back to his feet and put his back against the cage. Two right hooks by Dillashaw cracked Barao. Dillashaw found his range and started to pick Barao apart with body shots, head shots, and the whole kitchen sink. The speed of TJ just continued to fluster Barao even as Renan popped in some of his best shots. Barao stuffed another takedown attempt to end the 2nd round.
Barao’s corner told him to grapple more, and he shot in for a takedown about 90 seconds in and Dillashaw sprawled to defend and they returned to standing. Barao got caught with an uppercut and then Dillashaw moved in for another takedown, which Barao stuffed. Barao landed a good knee in the clinch. As Barao defended the persistent attempt, TJ threw knees of his own to the thigh and the shin. Barao went for a half-hearted guillotine which Dillashaw effortlessly pushed aside. Barao narrowly missed with a head kick and then Barao got hurt with a left hook. A big flurry capped off a dominant 3rd.
A massive left hook rocked Barao in the 4th. Barao was wobbled with his back against the fence. TJ went on an all-out assault, catching him with huge shots without dropping him. Barao was just about out on his feet and Herb Dean moved in to stop the massacre.
Official result: T.J. Dillashaw (12-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) def. Renan Barao (33-3, 1 NC MMA; 8-2 UFC) via TKO (punches) at :35 of round 4 to remain the UFC bantamweight champion.
Dillashaw has finished all three of his title fights in the championship rounds, and this one erased any doubt over how great he is and how much better he is than Renan Barao. For Barao, it’s his 2nd loss in 3 fights, both to Dillashaw, after previously going 9 years without a defeat.
Stay tuned for more post-fight coverage, analysis, and video highlights from UFC on FOX 16.
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