Some are calling TJ Dillashaw’s victory over Renan Barao at UFC 173 the biggest upset in UFC history. Others are chalking it up as simply an off night for the Brazilian. Marlon Sandro, on the other hand, believes there were greater forces at work, like the UFC forcing Barao into taking a fight before he was ready.
An 8-to-1 underdog, Dillashaw entered the cage on Saturday night as nothing but “Scooby snacks” for the UFC’s bantamweight lion. Barao was arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world riding an otherworldly streak of 32 wins and a no contest.
Not even the greatest psychic in the West could have predicted what would unfold on Memorial Day weekend at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
After cracking Barao early with a big overhand right, Dillashaw left any notion of serendipity in the dust by tactfully picking the champ apart on the feet for five rounds. There was hardly walking space due to the many jaws left hanging on the floor as Dillashaw landed a massive left hook followed by ground strikes to net a TKO stoppage at 2:26 of the fifth round.
A bloodied and battered Barao could do little more than pick up the pieces of his shattered world-beater image and head back to the locker room.
Sandro, Barao’s teammate, appeared disgusted by the outcome of the UFC 173 main event. In a post on Instagram, the former Sengoku featherweight champ pointed the finger at UFC scheduling as the sole reason for Barao being upended.
Tenho certeza que você vai voltar mais forte irmão, farei o que for preciso pra você pegar o que e seu de novo. Tremenda sacanagem que fizeram com você acabou de defender o cinturão e nem deu tempo de você descansar e te obrigaram a lutar cambada de safados isso e injustiça , mas Deus não dorme vamos voltar mais forte !!!
I'm sure you will come back stronger brother, will do whatever it takes to take what you and your back. Tremendous romp that you just did to defend the belt and you do not have time to rest and forced you to fight this bunch of crooks and injustice, but God does not sleep we come back stronger!
It appears as if Sandro attempted to use Google translate to transfer his words over to the English language. A source was able to provide Bleacher Report with a clearer translation of Sandro’s post on Monday.
I'm sure that you will come back stronger brother. I'm going to do what I can for you to get back what is yours. Not fair on you, you just defended your belt, there was not enough time to rest and they made you fight again. Bunch of silly people, this is injustice. But god doesn't sleep, we will come back stronger.
Sandro is obviously alluding to the quick turnaround for Barao after just defending the UFC title against Urijah Faber in February.
Barao, who was rumored to have had a difficult weight cut, came out flat against Dillashaw. He had already slowed down considerably just two rounds into the fight.
But credit has to be given to that overhand right Dillashaw landed in the first round. It seemed like Barao was never able to recover from that one punch.
In the coming weeks, the MMA world may come to realize that the UFC bantamweight title bout propagated more questions than answers.
Did we see the best Renan Barao at UFC 173? Was this fight TJ Dillashaw’s coming out party, or did he merely catch Barao on an off night? Would a rematch play out the same way?
According to MMAFighting.com, Barao’s coach, Andre Pederneiras, recently made an appearance on the Brazilian radio show Mundo da Luta, where he asked the UFC for an immediate rematch at UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I’d want to see this rematch. Hell yeah, I’d want to see it. I want to see which Barao shows up for the next fight, and I think that’s a great fight,” said White.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon. Translated by Ronaldo Da Silva Lima.