To say Dillashaw was coming into this fight with the odds stacked against him would be an understatement. At one point he was listed as a +800 underdog against UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao, and rightfully so. Barao came into this fight with a 33-fight unbeaten streak dating back to 2005. Dillshaw didn’t make his professional debut until 2010.
Before tonight, Matt Serra’s TKO of Georges St. Pierre at UFC 69 was the biggest upset in UFC history as far as title fights go. Dillshaw’s TKO of Barao just surpassed that. Serra beat GSP after clipping him early and pouncing on him with a relentless striking barrage to secure the victory just minutes into the fight. It was the definition of a fighter who wasn’t supposed to win landing that lucky shot – a punchers chance if you will. Dillashaw dominated Barao for the full fight until eventually finishing him nearly half way into the fifth and final round. He outclassed a man that was supposed to be the better fighter for over 22 minutes.
Dillashaw was in full control from the opening bell until the eventual finish. He stunned Barao early with a monster right that knocked the champion down and would finish him with a right hand – right head kick – left hand combination followed by more unanswered strikes. His footwork reminded us of Dominick Cruz in his prime – but with KO power. He looked like the champion coming into this fight. And he certainly looked like a superstar coming out of it.
Dillashaw was able to land 140 out of 309 of his significant strikes. Even more impressive though was how much he made Barao, one of the most elite strikers in the game, miss. Barao was only able to connect on 64 out of 273 of his significant strikes. He couldn’t find Dillashaw, and he paid for it everytime he tried.
On their seventh attempt, T.J. Dillashaw becomes the first fighter out of Team Alpha Male to claim UFC gold. Check out video highlights from what has to be the performance of the year thus far below.
Final Result: T.J. Dillshaw (10-2) defeats Renan Barao (32-2) via TKO (head kick and punches) – Round 5, 2:26