The UFC bantamweight title was on the line in the main event of ‘UFC Fight Night 81’ in Boston, as current champion T.J. Dillashaw (12-2 MMA) squared off with former title holder Dominick Cruz (20-1 MMA).
No touch of gloves to start this one. Dillashaw opens with a body kick. Quick takedown by Cruz. T.J right back to his feet. Good leg kick from Cruz. Nice right hand from the former champ. Head kick misses for Dillashaw who falls. Cruz on top briefly but T.J. scrambles free. Good shot to the body from Cruz. Nice leg kick by Dillashaw. Cruz returns with a right hand. And another. Very crisp left hand lands from Cruz who seems to be breathing hard. Dillashaw misses with a right but lands a good body kick. Good three-punch combo from Cruz. Nice right hand from Dillashaw. Good punches from both fighters land. A left from Dillashaw. Cruz with another right. Dillashaw tries a takedown but Cruz stuffs it to end round 1.
Round two begins and Cruz opens with a jab and then a leg kick. Dillashaw is pressing forward. Dominick is moving away and countering nicely. Nice right hands to the body by Cruz. Dillashaw is trying to catch him but can’t seem to find his range. Good jab from Cruz. Another nice counter jab from Cruz. Right hand scores for the champ and then a leg kick. Another leg kick from Dillashaw. Good left hand lands for Cruz. Dillashaw responds with a right and then a high kick. Another left hand scores for Dillashaw who seems to be getting comfortable. Takedown for Cruz. Dillashaw is back up and then back down. The champ gets back to his feet again but eats a leg kick for his troubles. Big shots from Dillashaw but nothing lands flush.
Round three begins and Dillashaw opens with a combo. The champ is chasing Cruz but missing. Right hands by both fighters. Solid leg kick from Dillashaw. He’s backing Cruz up now. Good jab lands for Cruz. Dillashaw partially lands a head kick. Good right hook from Cruz, who again appears to be breathing hard. Right hand from TJ lands and then another big leg kick. Another leg kick by Dillashaw. Cruz scores a takedown. Big scramble, and they are back to their feet. Good jab from Cruz. Good punches form Cruz and Dillashaw returns fire with a kick. More shots from Cruz. Dillashaw is breathing hard. Big right from Cruz to end round three.
Round four begins and Cruz gets clipped with a good kick from Dillashaw. Cruz switches stances and lands a left. Strong leg kick hurts Cruz but he dives in and scores a takedown on Dillashaw. TJ is back up and lands another leg kick. Good right hand from Cruz. Good combo from Cruz. Dillashaw lands a left. Cruz with a jab. Good shot from Dilashaw in tight. He gets Cruz down and takes his back. Cruz is up to his feet but Dillashaw has a body lock. Good knee from Dillashaw and more to the legs of Cruz. Cruz breaks free and lands a knee of his own. TJ is bleeding and looks busted up. Cruz with good jab. He tries a takedown but it’s stuffed. Dillashaw lands a good right to end round four.
Round five starts and Dillashaw opens with a high kick that misses. Good leg kicks from TJ. Good right hand from Dillashaw and then a big kick. Cruz fires back but only lands one shot. Good shots by both fighters. Dillashaw is applying the pressure. Body kick lands from TJ. Spinning back fist attempt by Cruz. Good leg kick for Cruz lands. TJ replies with a kick of his own. Nasty leg kicks from Dillashaw and Cruz is hurting. Cruz presses forward with punches but misses. High kick from Dillashaw. Good left from Cruz. Another left for Dominick. Big right by Dillashaw and then another gruesome leg kick. Big right from Cruz. Final 30 seconds and the crowd is on their feet. Good shots from both men. Cruz and Dillashaw go the distance. This one is going to be hard to call.
Dominick Cruz defeats T.J. Dillashaw via split decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)