The second-ranked flyweight in the world, T.J. Dillashaw (15-3) took another step toward the UFC flyweight title in the main event of UFC Fight Night 127. The former champion was making his first title defense since defeating Joseph Benavidez in November 2017. The event took place on Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.
T.J. Dillashaw made a statement by retaining his bantamweight title at UFC 227. He proved that he could take anybody down and beat anybody at any weight. He earned the respect of the elite fighters in the division and the fans.
UFC Fight Night took place on Saturday night in Sacramento, California, and it was a night of heavyweight fights — with only one bantamweight contest. TJ Dillashaw’s game plan was to avoid this contest, but his team was forced to accept it due to injury to his challenger. The fight will likely take place in late-August at UFC 227, the card will include Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw for the bantamweight title.. Read more about tj dillashaw and let us know what you think.
The main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night between TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen stood up to the high expectations surrounding one of the year’s most anticipated bouts.
Dillashaw won a split decision, putting himself in line for a future chance at reclaiming a championship he never lost inside the cage. Should Dillashaw’s two-year ban for EPO doping preclude him from returning to the top after paying the price of two years in the peak of his career?
The main card was very close throughout, with a majority decision and a split decision among the outcomes. Maycee Barber won a split decision against Miranda Maverick, but it wasn’t the decisive win she had hoped for. Was it, however, enough to get Barber’s career back on track?
Finally, two players stood out on a night filled with elite prospects.
Dillashaw has completed his sentence and is now ready for a championship chance.
TJ Dillashaw, right, knew there was only one way to divert attention away from his ban, and that was to win a major fight, which he did. Zuffa LLC/Jeff Bottari
TJ Dillashaw cheated, according to Raimondi. He injected himself with EPO and was discovered, losing his UFC bantamweight championship and receiving a two-year USADA punishment. Dillashaw confessed to using the banned drug in order to reduce his weight from bantamweight to flyweight.
That problem will very certainly follow Dillashaw throughout his career. It’ll almost certainly be brought up by every opponent. Nobody is claiming that it should be ignored or that Dillashaw was unjustly punished. He wasn’t one of them. He did, however, serve his sentence. Dillashaw, who won a split decision over Cory Sandhagen on Saturday, deserves another chance at the championship he has never lost in the Octagon.
On ESPN+, you can watch all of the bouts from UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw.
• TJ Dillashaw vs. Cory Sandhagen • Kyler Phillips vs. Raulian Paiva • Darren Elkins vs. Darrick Minner • Miranda Maverick vs. Maycee Barber • Randy Costa vs. Adrian Yanez • Punahele Soriano vs. Brendan Allen • Nassourdine Imavov vs. Ian Heinisch • Mickey Gall vs. Jordan Williams
On ESPN+, you can watch the whole game.
Maybe that’s a controversial viewpoint. But, for now, Dillashaw’s résumé is probably the greatest of any bantamweight in MMA history. ESPN placed Sandhagen third in the division. Aljamain Sterling, the champion, and Petr Yan, the next challenger and previous champion, were the only guys above him. The math indicates one thing: Dillashaw has placed himself in the driver’s seat for the winner of the Sterling-Yan championship bout, which is set to take place in October.
Saturday night, Dillashaw was not flawless. Sandhagen enjoyed a lot of good times. Judge Derek Cleary, who scored Sandhagen in the second, fourth, and fifth rounds, thought he was the deserved winner. But Dillashaw deserves all of the credit since he has no ring rust. He battled despite a knee injury caused by a leglock attempt by Sandhagen in the first round. Sandhagen opened himself a nasty, bleeding, deep cut in the second round, but he battled through it. Late in the bout, Dillashaw was the fresher, more aggressive fighter.
Dillashaw was the top bantamweight in the world until he was banned in 2019. After two years, his reputation has been permanently tarnished. But, at 135 pounds, Dillashaw may still be able to lay claim to being the greatest in the world. The controversial scrapper should get a chance to show or refute it in his next bout.
Sandhagen lost the fight, but he’s just 29 years old and was only a couple of huge punches away from bringing a win back to Colorado. He doesn’t lose a lot of value here. The one issue he may have in the near future is that he has lost to Dillashaw and Sterling, effectively knocking out two of the best bantamweights in the world. A battle versus someone like Rob Font, a fellow up-and-comer, could be extremely intriguing.
Barber wins a close game, but not a decisive one.
Maycee Barber, left, won a razor-thin decision against Miranda Maverick to end a two-fight losing streak. Zuffa LLC/Jeff Bottari
Maycee Barber earned the victory she needed, but not the one she desired, according to Legaspi.
Barber left the Midwest after her first two defeats, to Roxanne Modafferi and Alexa Grasso, and is currently training with Urijah Faber in Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male.
She won the second and third rounds in front of two judges, which should relieve a lot of weight off her shoulders, since she claimed to be “The Future” of the 125 class, and a 0-3 run would have been disastrous for that reputation.
The third was obviously hers versus Miranda Maverick, but the second was very tight, and the tiny audience at the UFC APEX was taken aback when the official decision was announced — far from a “robbery,” but it’s still a split victory against a prospect with less UFC experience. That shouldn’t be enough to reclaim a spot in the top ten flyweight rankings.
Barber seemed to be more at ease during fight week, but she still has a lot to learn in her new camp. The fruits of her labor will be shown in her next outings in the Octagon. She claims to have rediscovered the pleasure of preparing for a battle, and we’ll have to wait and see whether the cocky Barber returns soon.
Prospects make an appearance.
Coppinger: The action in Las Vegas on Saturday night showcased a number of promising young UFC prospects, but Adrian Yanez and Nassourdine Imavov stood out the most.
Yanez became the first man to win his first three UFC bouts by knockout at 135 pounds or less with a second-round TKO of Randy Costa in a grueling bantamweight bout.
Costa was stunned with a sneaky right uppercut before a barrage of punches on the ground brought the fight to a close. The halt was the Texan’s eighth in a row, and he now seems to be on the verge of a significant chance.
@imavov1 #UFCVegas32 pic.twitter.com/zuP5YdSsCW @imavov1 @UFCVegas32 pic.twitter.com/zuP5YdSsCW
— July 24, 2021, ESPN MMA (@espnmma)
But he wasn’t the only one who made an impression. Imavov, meantime, delivered with a second-round TKO of Ian Heinisch, declaring his presence as a 185-pound fighter to watch.
Heinisch came into the Octagon having lost three of his previous four bouts, although all of them were by decision. Derek Brunson and Kelvin Gastelum, both in the top ten light heavyweights, suffered two of the defeats.
Imavov’s ability to complete Heinisch, and with reasonable ease, is particularly remarkable. A knee was the start of the end before the 25-year-old landed a barrage of punches all around the cage, prompting the referee to step in.
Imavov, a Dagestan native who currently trains in France, began boxing at the age of ten, and it showed. Throughout the battle, the blows flowed smoothly, and the jab was pinpoint precise. Imavov had to settle for a majority-decision defeat to Phil Hawes in February, but with Saturday’s victory, he’s back among the UFC’s most exciting prospects.
Imavov is obviously ready for a harder challenge in his next appearance in the Octagon, having trained with heavyweight contender Ciryl Gane at the MMA Factory in France.
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