Monday July 20, 2015– One of the biggest under dog stories and most exciting fights of 2014 took place at UFC 173. In the main event we saw TJ Dillashaw defeat Renan Barao, who many believed was one of the best pound for pound fighters in MMA by putting on one of the best performances in Bantamweight history. The five round match showcased what TJ Dillishaw was able to do under the tutelage of Duane Ludwig. But even with that great performance, MMA fans wanted to see a rematch between the newly crowned champion and a man who had not been defeated since 2005 before entering the octagon at UFC 173.
The UFC would not make fight fans wait long as the rematch was originally scheduled as the main event of UFC 177 just 3 month after their first fight. But MMA fans would not be so lucky, as Renan Barao was forced to step down from the fight due to complications with his weight cut. The former champion would become hospitalized days before the fight after passing out in his hotel bathroom. Dillashaw would go on to defeat Joe Soto on short notice to retain the bantamweight title leaving hope for a rematch. April 2015 at UFC 186 would be the next time the two were set to meet and end up being the second time the match would be postponed. This time however, it would be due a rib injury suffered by the champion during his training camp leaving fight fans wondering if we would ever get to see this fight take place.
It has been 14 months since the two have met in the octagon, but it seems as though the time has come. On July 25th at UFC Fight Night Chicago, the bantamweight title will be on the line as we FINALLY get to see the rematch between TJ Dillashaw and Renan Barao. After watching the UFC’s Road to the Octagon, it is clear that Barao will not be taking Dillashaw lightly but the champion has followed his coach to The Mile High city to prepare for this bout.
This match will be an interesting one and will either give us a definitive answer as to who is the king of the bantamweight division, or force a trilogy fight between the two to take place. Of course we have been here before so I for one will not be getting my hopes up. Even though their first encounter is still one of my favorite MMA fights of all time, I will not allow myself to get too excited until I hear Bruce Buffer say those two words that get every MMA fan pumped up, “It’s Time!!!”
UFC on FOX 16: Dillashaw vs. Barao 2 Fight Card:
(8 PM ET, FOX)
T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao
Jessica Eye vs. Miesha Tate
Edson Barboza vs. Paul Felder
Takanori Gomi vs. Joe Lauzon
(6 PM ET, FOX)
Tom Lawlor vs. Gian Villante
Danny Castillo vs. Jim Miller
Kenny Robertson vs. Ben Saunders
Bryan Caraway vs. Eddie Wineland
(4 PM ET, Fight Pass)
Daron Cruickshank vs. James Krause
Andrew Holbrook vs. Ramsey Nijem
Jessamyn Duke vs. Elizabeth Phillips
Antonio Braga Neto vs. Dominique Steele