MGM Grand Garden Arena played host to UFC 173 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, and the exciting main card proved to be as compelling as expected.
The main event was stellar. Renan Barao, arguably one of the best fighters in the world, surrendered his bantamweight title to challenger TJ Dillashaw after Dillashaw put on an absolutely stunning performance against the champ.
Dillashaw now has big things on the horizon.
The main card featured great fights as well. While not as exciting as Dillashaw's win over Barao, the winners in those bouts fought hard and deserved their victories.
Below is a table complete with the results from UFC 173's main card and main event, as well as some analysis on the top performers from Saturday night.
|Renan Barao vs. TJ Dillashaw||Dillashaw||TKO|
|Dan Henderson vs. Daniel Cormier||Cormier||Submission|
|Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger||Lawler||TKO|
|Francisco Rivera vs. Takeya Mizugaki||Mizugaki||Unanimous Decision|
|James Krause vs. Jamie Varner||Krause||TKO|
Dillashaw was stellar, knocking out Barao in the final round of their main event fight. The implications of the victory for Dillashaw are huge, as Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com pointed out:
The result snaps a 33-fight unbeaten streak for Barao (32-2) that dated back to April 2005. It also handed Dillashaw's gym, Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, its first world title. The team had gone winless in six previous UFC title fights.
Now the 135-pound champion, Dillashaw earned himself the right to fight another quality opponent in his first defense of the title.
Dillashaw, known as the Viper, almost finished off Barao early in the first round before the then-champion regained his composure and continued fighting. Dillashaw was all over him for the rest of the fight, however, and shockingly, Barao appeared overmatched.
Barao is still one of the most talented fighters in the world, making this victory for Dillashaw even more impressive. A rematch could very well be in the cards for the two fighters, especially given Barao's past successes.
But for now, we should just focus on praising Dillashaw for a nearly flawless fight against an exceptionally tough opponent.
Staying unbeaten against one of the most revered fighters in UFC history is usually cause for celebration. Daniel Cormier did just that, defeating Dan Henderson by submission to improve to 15-0 in his career.
Cormier won this fight on the ground. Henderson was never able to get back to his feet when Cormier got him down, as Cormier used his size and strength to keep Henderson on his back. Once in that position, Cormier unleashed a flurry of punches and strikes that both did damage and tired out the 43-year-old.
With three minutes and 53 seconds remaining the third round, Cormier finished the fight. No longer looking to tire Henderson out, he got behind him and choked him to submission.
Following the victory, Cormier wasted no time in calling out light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, via Mike Chiappetta of Fox Sports:
No matter where you go boy, I'm coming. You better hurry because I'm getting better.
I know nobody can wrestle me. It doesn't matter. If I decide to take Jon Jones down 100 times, I'll take him down 100 times. This is my octagon.
It will be interesting to see how Jones responds. Cormier appears ready to face such a tough opponent after a decisive performance at UFC 173.
Takeya Mizugaki, 30, showed off his ground dominance in an impressive unanimous-decision win (scored 30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Francisco Rivera. It was Mizugaki's fifth straight victory.
Which winner was most impressive?
His ability to keep Rivera on the ground and deliver strong blows to his opponent's body was crucial in both racking up points and tiring out Rivera. After doing so, Mizugaki used wild movements and quick strikes to do even more damage.
The first instance of this came just 90 seconds into the fight, when Mizugaki dropped Rivera after landing a crushing overhand blow to Rivera's ear. Rivera hit the mat and Mizugaki attacked, but Rivera was able to stand back up and continue fighting.
When Rivera went down in the third round, that was all Mizugaki needed to earn the win. Rivera slipped, and Mizugaki went to work.
In winning unanimously, Mizugaki showed that he is no longer the roster filler that he was earlier on in his career. He is climbing the ranks of his division.