UFC 173: Renan Barao's Experience Will Earn Him Decisive Win over TJ Dillashaw

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMay 23, 2014

Renan Barao celebrates after beating Urijah Faber of Sacramento, CA during the first round of the Ultimate Fighting Bantamweight Championship Mixed Martial Arts bout in Newark, N.J. on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Barao won after referee Herb Dean called the fight in the first round. (AP Photo/Tim Larsen)
TIM LARSEN/Associated Press

TJ Dillashaw may have bitten off a bit more than he can chew, as he prepares to enter the Octagon against Renan Barao for UFC 173's main event.

Barao may be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet—even if he doesn't quite receive as many headlines of others, such as Jon Jones.

With a 34-1 record—his lone blemish coming when he was an 18-year-old rookie—Barao's dominance has been wildly visible.

Mike Chiappetta of Fox Sports tweeted a vivid example of how long it's been since Barao lost:

Barao hasn't seen a fight come to a decision since his first bout with Urijah Faber in 2012. Since then, he's recorded a round-four submission against Michael McDonald, a round-two technical knockout against Eddie Wineland and a round-one technical knockout against Faber.

Need a refresher? Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan commented on Barao's win following UFC 169:

This fight was a perfect example of how Barao's experience came into play.

Keeping a good distance from Faber, he felt his way inside with a jab and immediately saw an opening in his opponent's defenses. What followed was an absolutely brutal right hand, which staggered Faber.

Barao took full advantage of his dazed opponent, taking him to the ground and pummeling him with a barrage of punches until the fight was stopped.

Barao's abilities as a striker will prove to be a daunting task for Dillashaw to overcome.

A solid wrestler and accurate striker, Dillashaw won't back down from Barao; however, that may be his undoing.

As Dillashaw attempts to get close enough for a takedown, he puts himself in harm's way, as Barao has the accuracy, intelligence and strength to deliver a decisive blow, which could end the fight immediately.

Bleacher Report's Duane Finley sums it up perfectly with this tweet:

What Dillashaw must accomplish over the course of the fight is to get Barao moving backward and avoid a constant onslaught of punches. This is certainly easier said than done, as Barao has a bevy of techniques at his disposal to counter anything Dillashaw throws his way.

Should Dillashaw decide to stand up to Barao, he's capable of doing some damage. Here's a look at some of his greatest moments, courtesy of a tweet from Dana White:

During an interview with Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com, Dillashaw spoke of his strategy coming into the fight:

There is definitely positives and negatives to it. I've studied this opponent more than any other I've had because Urijah fought him. I don't want to get too much into thinking, though. I want to have a reaction when I'm out there.

When I'm not thinking, I'm a faster athlete. If you start trying to think about what he's going to do, it slows you down. I just want to have fun once I step in there and prove everyone wrong.

He's certainly done his homework; however, it all comes down to experience.

While Dillashaw is a talented fighter, he simply isn't refined enough to counter Barao's superior fighting style.

Dealing with Barao is one thing for Dillashaw, but the pressure of a title fight only adds to the odds being stacked against him in a big way.

Dillashaw has the ability to contend with Barao, but he's not ready just yet.