Preview of Dillashaw vs. Barao II in Chicago


72 hours out from UFC on Fox 16: Dillashaw vs. Barao II in the Windy City, Renan Barao is on the hunt for revenge. The 33-2 (1 NC) Brazilian has spent over a year without the men’s Bantamweight championship around his waist since suffering a fifth-round TKO loss to 11-2 Californian, T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 173 on May 24. With only one fight for both men since that time, the UFC seemed eager to book the rematch.

Despite having the better record, Barao is surprisingly the underdog. Jeff Wagenheim of Sports Illustrated reported, “Dillashaw is the favorite, with the line ranging from -201 (bet $201 to win $100) to -235 at various sportsbooks, according to bestfightodds.com. The line on Barão ranges from +175 (bet $100 to win $175) to +186.”

In my opinion, I believe that Dillashaw, whose record breaks down to 5 KO/TKOs, 3 submissions, and 3 decision wins, will look to stand and bang; Wagenheim also reported that the champion lands 5.56 strikes per minute. However, if Barao is looking back at footage if his opponent, he might notice that three of Dillashaw's victories (including the first bout between the two) are by way of a combination of a head kick and punches. If and when Barao ducks a head kick, shooting in for a takedown and working a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game plan could be his way back to the belt.

Barao has 15 submissions to his credit, but the ground skills of both could also cancel each other out. According to the official Cal State Fullerton Titans athletics website during his college career,

“T.J. Dillashaw has the most Div. I experience on the Titans' roster in 2008-09 after three seasons as the No. 1 performer at 133 pounds with 53 victories... two-time NCAA qualifier... in 2008 placed fourth in the Pac-10 Championships and finished with a 22-10 record with four pins... was 7-0 in Pac-10 duals... took second place at Cliff Keen Invitational... also placed fourth at Pac-10s in 2007... overall record was 17-14 with an 11-4 mark in duals including 5-3 in the Pac-10... in April of 2007 he placed sixth in the University Greco Wrestling Championships in Akron, Ohio, at 132.25 pounds... in 2005-06 he posted a 14-16 record including a 10-8 mark in dual matches... he went 3-4 in Pac-10 dual meets... over the summer of 2006 he went to the Ukraine and trained... a four-time section and two-time CIF qualifier at Bret Harte High School in Angels Camp... compiled an overall record of 170-33... placed second at CIF as a senior to cap a 52-6 record for Coach Jan Schulz…”

Even though it’s been said on many UFC broadcasts that wrestling is the best base for MMA, in terms of what has finished his fights, Dillashaw will more than likely stand up after he went 0 for 3 in the takedown department the first time he squared off with Barao.

"It definitely took some time to start seeing the holes," Dillashaw said. "You first start watching him and you believe the hype. I was mainly watching tape to see what he did right, so I could try to do those things to Urijah [Faber] in the gym. I think when I first started realizing his flaws was when I started working with Duane [coach, Duane “Bang” Ludwig]. He was the one who had me picking Barao apart before I even was scheduled to fight him, because Duane knew I was going to get to that point."

If the fight stays on the feet, I have to go with Dillashaw, who is also seeing areas where he has the advantage. In the event that Barao is holding his own away from the ground, this fight will probably go to the scorecards. Barao’s record also includes 10 decision wins.

"By far, I know way more about him than anyone else," Dillashaw told ESPN.com. "Not that I'm overlooking him, but (for the last three years), I've basically been training for the same guy."

-via Brett Okamoto/ESPN

Any way I look at this, someone’s lights are going out.

Prediction: TJ Dillashaw- “Championship Round(s)” [4 or 5] KO/TKO

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