By Jaime C. Feal
TJ Dillashaw has shocked the MMA world. Renan Barao, unbeaten for 9 years, was dominated and outclassed in the striking department by the new champion TJ Dillashaw. Barao, once considered possibly the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, got outstruck for 4 rounds then viciously finished in the 5th. Dillashaw was faster, and smarter, as he masterfully bobbed in and out to beat up the well-rounded Barao. In the co-main event, Daniel Cormier completely dominated future Hall-of-Famer Dan Henderson by out wrestling the legend. Cormier threw around Henderson, and put a beating on him on the ground. After the win, Cormier called out Light Heavyweight champ Jon “Bones” Jones, and there is a strong likelihood Cormier gets his wish. Starting off the main card, Jamie Varner had to retire after the first round after suffering a left foot injury. Varner showed tremendous heart is his bout with James Krause, as Varner was barely able to stand on the injured foot, but still hung in there until the end of the round. Takeya Mizugaki won a rather dull affair over Francisco Rivera in the next fight, taking a unanimous decision victory.
Welterweight Division (170 lbs.):
“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (22-10, 7-4 UFC) vs. Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger (29-7, 8-3 UFC)
The welterweights feel each other out for the first half minute, trying to find the distance. Lawler lands a left head kick, then another. Ellenberger is backpedaling, Lawler on the offensive. Big left body kick from Lawler. Nice straight left from Lawler, then an uppercut. Ellenberger looks clueless. Another good left from Lawler. Finally Ellenberger throws and lands a right, but then eats a left and head kick from “Ruthless” Robbie. Good knee to the body from Lawler. Two minutes to go in the round, Ellenberger misses with an uppercut. Nice counter right from Lawler, then a kick. Lawler nails Ellenberger with more hard punches to finish the round. 10-9 round for Lawler.
Right hand lands for Ellenberger. Good flurry from Lawler. Knee to the body from Robbie, then a jab. Lawler is on the offensive again, has Ellenberger backing up. Jake has Lawler’s back standing up now, Robbie working to get free and does. Body shot from Jake. More hard punches from Lawler has Jake on the run. Ellenberger looks scared. Big left hand from Lawler, outclassing his opponent in the striking game. Ellenberger wisely gets Robbie’s back and takes him down. Lawler laughs it up, and stands back up. Lawler starts nailing Ellenberger with left hands now, has Jake turtled up. More big shots from Lawler, Ellenberger on his knees and gets up. Jab from Lawler. Ellenberger with a double leg and gets the takedown. Lawler gets up to his feet with half a minute left. 10-9 round for Lawler.
Knee to the body from Lawler, then nice counter right hand. Big punches from Ellenberger, has Lawler hurt now. Lawler recovers and lands a hard knee. Ellenberger misses with an uppercut, Lawler hits him with another counter. The fighters clinch up, then separate. Ellenberger appears to have injured his hand, no longer throwing punches. Lawler back to stalking Jake. Nice jab from Lawler, then a hard straight left. Another solid straight left from Ruthless Robbie. Big knee from Robbie, and Ellenberger is badly hurt. Jake turtles up, and Robbie pounces. Lawler landing several solid left hands, and Herb Dean steps in to stop the contest.
“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler wins by TKO at 3:06 of Round 3.
Light Heavyweight Division (205 lbs.):
Dan “Hendo” Henderson (30-11, 7-5 UFC) vs. Daniel “DC” Cormier (14-0, 3-0 UFC)
Left head kick from Cormier is blocked by Henderson, while Hendo loads up on his right hand. Cormier trying to jab. Cormier with a nice takedown into side control. Cormier just threw Hendo to the canvas with ease there. Cormier not doing much, now lands a couple rights to the body. Hendo looking to get up, but Cormier has him stuck on his back. Cormier has a crucifix, but loses it. Good elbow to the body from Cormier, trying to mount or improve position. Hendo regains guard, lands a good upkick. DC regains side control. Henderson gives his back, then north sound position. Cormier’s top control is solid, but Hendo is able to get back up with just over a half minute left. The fighters clinch on the cage to the end the round. 10-9 round for Cormier.
Henderson takes some big swings but comes up empty. Cormier gets another takedown, back in side control. Henderson giving up his back, Cormier lands two heavy right hands. Back in side control, then north south, Cormier lands a hard right hand to the body. More right hands to the head of Henderson, who is stuck. Big right hand to the body from DC. Henderson hip escapes to half guard. Cormier beating him up though with punches, gets back in side control. DC going for a mounted crucifix. Cormier bails on that and lands two hard lefts. More left hands from Cormier. DC making Henderson tire as he continues to land punches. Cormier in side control, landing punch after punch on Henderson. North south position again, Henderson cannot get up no matter how hard he tries. Henderson turtles up again as the round ends. 10-9 round for Cormier.
Cormier lands a kick, then picks Henderson up and throws him down. Cormier is totally dominating Henderson in the grappling game. Henderson stuck in half guard now, completely gassed. Cormier gets full mount with three minutes left. Henderson gives up his back, Cormier continuing to land punches and maintain dominant position. Cormier teeing off on Henderson, who is notoriously tough and is somehow surviving. This is a total beatdown right now from DC, completely ragdolling and beating on Henderson. Under two minutes to go, and one worries this type of fight could send Henderson into retirement. Again Cormier has Henderson’s back, and as Hendo tries to get up, Cormier locks both hooks in and gets a rear-naked choke. Cormier has the choke fully locked in on a gassed Henderson, but Hendo refuses to tap and goes to sleep.
Daniel “DC” Cormier wins by technical submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:53 of Round 3.
UFC Bantamweight Championship (135 lbs.):
Renan Barao (32-1, 7-0 UFC) vs. TJ Dillashaw (9-2, 5-2 UFC)
Outside leg kick from Dillashaw. Jab from Barao, then another outside leg kick from TJ. Right body kick from the champion. Outside leg kick from Dillashaw again. Big uppercut from Dillashaw, lands clean. Body kick from Barao. Another big punch from Dillashaw. Straight counter right from Barao lands very hard, TJ takes it well. Outside leg kick from Dillashaw. Nice hook from Dillashaw, looking very good so far. TJ is bouncing around, very light on his feet. The bantamweights trade outside leg kicks. HUGE right hand from Dillashaw crushes the champion. Dillashaw is all over Barao, who is almost out on the canvas. Herb Dean is taking a close look as TJ is absolutely pouncing on this opportunity. The crowd is shrieking as the huge underdog is just a few punches away from sealing a historic upset, when Barao rolls for a leglock. Dillashaw defends and starts hammerfisting Barao, who is in all kinds of trouble. Barao gives up his back. Dillashaw has a rear-naked choke locked up, but no hooks. Barao escapes back to his feet and survives. 10-8 round for Dillashaw.
Barao comes out and lands a couple good punches. Dillashaw may be a tad too aggressive right now, Barao just waiting for the counters. Dillashaw is cut now. Barao with a nice counter left after taking a right hand from Dillashaw. Nice jab from TJ, Barao lands a good kick. Nice punches from TJ now. Nice counter punches from Barao. TJ Dillashaw goes for the takedown, but Barao defends. Nice jab from Barao. TJ nails Barao with a punch, has the champion hurt again. Body kick from the challenger. Inside leg kick and right hand from Barao. Nice uppercut from Barao. Nice punch from Dillashaw. 10-9 round for Dillashaw.
Left body kick from Barao, nice right hand from Dillashaw. Both fighters maintain a high pace right now. Good jab from Barao after Dillashaw has a head kick blocked. Good right hand from TJ. Hard outside leg kick from Barao. TJ lands a nice left, then a hard outside leg kick. Dillashaw lands a headkick and a big one-two. Dillashaw nailing Barao with punches. Inside leg kick from Dillashaw. Body kick from TJ, Barao responds with the same. Good straight left by Dillashaw, then a nice jab. Dillashaw landing more punches, has Barao looking battered. Heavy straight left from Dillashaw lands, Barao says he was eye poker, Herb Dean says keep fighting. Dillashaw lands more hard punches. Barao getting battered, round ends. 10-9 round for Dillashaw.
Dillashaw with a good head kick, then a body kick. Barao with an inside leg kick. Dillashaw charges forward and lands a one-two, then a kick. Huge punches rock Barao. TJ Dillashaw has Barao confused. Dillashaw charges forward again, eats a counter punch. Two straight left from Dillashaw find the mark. The fighters clinch, and Dillashaw lands some knees to the body. TJ is smiling at Barao as he dances away. Dillashaw winds up on top in a scramble. Dillashaw lands an elbow.Barao goes for a leglock, TJ escapes. Big right hand from Dillashaw. TJ lands some elbows and short strikes on top to close out the round. 10-9 round for Dillashaw.
Barao’s right eye is almost closed from all the punches he has taken. Good leg kick from Dillashaw. Nice jab from Barao, but he needs a finish. Good knee from TJ. Solid jab from Dillashaw, then a head kick. Outside leg kick lands for Dillashaw, he is actually making Barao look slow. Dillashaw has shown a clear speed advantage in this fight. Nice straight punches from Dillashaw. Barao misses with a flying knee. Huge head kick from Dillashaw, drops Barao. TJ Dillashaw pounces all over Barao, nailing him with hard punches. Herb Dean taking a good look again, telling Barao to fight back. Barao doing nothing to defend, getting destroyed by ground and pound, Dean finally steps in to stop the contest.
TJ Dillashaw wins by TKO at 2:26 of Round 5, and becomes the new UFC Bantamweight Champions.