Dillashaw Deafeats Barao with Fourth Round TKO, Tate/Rousey to Battle Again
*Written on location- United Center, Chicago IL
“Windy City” fight fans rooting for “The Baron” Renan Barao on Saturday night were disappointed to say the least. T.J. Dillashaw on the other hand is still, as he often is, smiling. Dillashaw headed back to his locker room with his championship belt, still the reigning king of the Bantamweights.
A night that started with what some might consider a controversial third round unanimous decision win for Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway (the now 21-7 significant other of Miesha Tate, who was also on the card) ended in decisive fashion with a technical knockout finish for Dillashaw.
“I always push the pace and thought I started out too fast. It was a crazy first round and I wanted to get the finish in the first. In the second and third round I started to get into my groove and I was able to put him away in the fourth. I’m glad I got the finish quicker than last time, but there are still some things I need to work on. I got hit a little bit more than I wanted to and we’ll fix those things” Dillashaw said.
Although it was a stand-up fight as predicted, it was surprising to see that neither man decided to use their previously mentioned strong bases of Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.. Then again, why concern yourself with what you don’t have to if you can finish the fight first? Dillashaw did as he said he does by forcing Barao to backstep, but not before he stood in front of Dillashaw long enough to allow a barrage to get through.
Barao was no pushover; he left the champion with memories of their war on his face, but clearly hand speed, fluidly changing his stance to hit versus being hit, and capitalizing on what appeared to be a more relaxed fighting style from Barao led to the now undisputed champ’s success.
“I train harder than he does, in my mind,” Dillashaw said. I’m really proud of my performance,” “I got hit a little more than I wanted to, but it’s because Barao’s a killer, man.”
After the first two rounds allowed the combatants to get their bearings, Round 3 ended with the Brazilian “Baron” out on his feet. Round 4 was more of the same. Just 35 seconds into the fourth, referee Herb Dean saw one too many shots to the head, and no defense to speak of. As they say, “The lights were on but no one was home.” The stoppage improved the Dillashaw’s record to 12-2.
As the door to the Octagon closed for the Women’s Bantamweight title eliminator bout, the cold-eyed and perhaps ill-nicknamed Miesha “Cupcake” Tate came in as the #2 ranked fighter in the division with a 16-5 record. The Tacoma, Washington native headed backstage as the not-so-new contender for the title; this now sets up another potential fight with champion, Ronda Rousey to turn their rivalry into a trilogy. The submission specialist (six victories) may have failed to get Jessica “Evil” Eye to tap, but cemented her spot as next in line with a unanimous decision win after three hard rounds that few can argue against.
Tate sent her opponent to the canvas with one particular blow (a Chuck Liddell-like overhand right), was claiming before the bout to be the better wrestler, and then delivered on that claim by smothering eye and working the clinch when they weren’t trading leather.
“It felt good to drop her. Honestly, I’m mad I didn’t finish her, but it’s the best I’ve ever felt going three rounds. I did a new strength training regimen and I felt so strong and I was in such good shape for the fight. I was able to recover in between rounds and I felt awesome. A little disappointed to not get the finish. I wanted to show I had the power in my hands to knock anyone out. I think I proved that tonight. I dropped her a couple of times, and if I would’ve kept a little more space on the ground and kept punching her, I would’ve got the finish but my grappling nature kicked in. She’s a really tough girl, hats off to her” Tate said.
Tate has worked her way back to contender status after four straight victories inside the Octagon. However, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino Venancio, the 145-pound champion of the all-female Invicta promotion could be in Tate’s more immediate future. Rousey still has to take on Bethe Correia on August 1. “Rowdy” has also refused to take on her worst rival at a 140-pound catchweight, wanting to make sure her opponent is clear of any PEDs (an issue in the past), and is a natural Bantamweight of 135 .
“It all started at a fan Q&A in Manila when a fan asked me if I would fight ‘Cyborg’ at 140 because Ronda wasn’t willing to,” Tate told MMAjunkie. “I said, ‘Of course I would.’ It has to make sense, but I would do it. Then the media took it and ran saying I challenged ‘Cyborg,’ and Cris took it very positively. She knows what I meant. Her and I are friends. It’s nothing personal, but it’s the kind of attitude a fighter should have because it’s a challenge and I wouldn’t run away from it”.
Tate has never faced “Cyborg” before, but is 0-2 against Rousey as the date for their next clash for the belt is waiting to be set.