Make it two in a row for TJ Dillashaw. The UFC bantamweight champion successfully defended his belt for the second time against Cody Garbrandt via first-round TKO in the main event of UFC 227 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday.
The bout played out much like the first matchup between the two, with No Love landing early hooks that appeared to wobble Dillashaw. Both men came out swinging.
However, the gamble of biting down on the mouthpiece and trading hooks didn't work out for Garbrandt. Similar to the first fight, Dillashaw swung the momentum in his favor with a hook and went to work getting the finish from there.
The champion went into Killashaw mode and kept swinging until he forced the fight to come to a close. MMA Fighting's Luke Thomas broke down the finish:
Andreas Hale of Sporting News gave Dillashaw props for the performance:
After the bout, the champ named himself the best bantamweight of all time:
The win cements Dillashaw's status as the champion, having taken the belt from Garbrandt his last time out and defeating him once again to retain it.
This is Dillashaw's second run with the bantamweight championship. The Duane Ludwig-trained fighter became champion with a win over Renan Barao in 2014 and defended it twice before dropping it to Dominick Cruz.
Where Killashaw goes from here will be interesting to keep an eye on. The title triangle of Garbrandt, Cruz and the current champion have accounted for four of the last five championship bouts in the division. The Dominator hasn't fought since 2016, but he is the No. 2-ranked fighter in the division.
Another interesting option is for Dillashaw to move down to capture the flyweight title. After watching Daniel Cormier capture a second simultaneous strap, he might want to duplicate the accomplishment.
"One: It's a goal of mine, because I know that I can do it. I know that I'm a small 135er and 25 wouldn't be that hard for me," Dillashaw said about potentially going for a second belt, per Tim Bissell of Bloody Elbow. "And two: I don't want any excuses why I beat Demetrious Johnson. I don't want him saying: 'Oh I was giving up the weight. I came up to 35.' No man, I'm not that much bigger than you. I'll come down to your weight class and I'll beat you at your own weight class. I don't want any excuses."
With Garbrandt effectively out of the picture for a while, the rivalry between the former Team Alpha Male teammates can end for now and the division can move on.