UFC 227: T.J. Dillashaw KOs Cody Garbrandt again to settle savage rivalry in one round
California-native Dillashaw calmly dispatches one-time teammate at Staples Centre
Bantamweight king T.J. Dillashaw made light work of long-time UFC nemesis Cody Garbrandt to defend his title in Los Angeles on Saturday night and settle their ugly rivalry once and for all.
In a furious one-chapter bout, Dillashaw beat Garbrandt to the punch time after time before unloading on his opponent against the cage before the referee Herb Dean stepped in and ended matters with 50 seconds left in the opener.
In a wild opening, both fighters threw caution to the wind loading up on sweeping power punches. In the end it proved to be 27-year-old Garbrandt’s downfall as he fell to a second straight defeat against Dillashaw (16-3).
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Dillashaw and Garbrandt were formerly friends and trained together in Sacramento until 2014, when Dillashaw left in a messy break-up with the Team Alpha Male gym.
Dillashaw held the 135-pound title belt before losing it to Dominick Cruz, but Garbrandt then took it from Cruz less than two years after he entered the UFC. Dillashaw and Garbrandt met for the first time last November, and Dillashaw stopped him in the second round.
“This cements my legacy as the greatest bantamweight of all-time,” said the 32-year-old Dillashaw. “I could tell that Cody was already hurt when we started that exchange and then I lined up the shot.
“I got a little excited when I should’ve slowed down and finished him, but I got the job done. I love this game. I love to fight and I thank you all for your support.”
Earlier in the co-main event, Henry Cejudo ended Demetrious Johnson’s nearly six-year reign as the flyweight champion, earning a split-decision victory in a stunning upset.
Cejudo (13-2) is an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler who only started training in mixed martial arts five years ago, but he used five takedowns and relentless offence to earn the decision over one of the most dominant champions in UFC history. Cejudo won 28-27 on two of the three judges’ scorecards to beat Johnson (27-3-1), who had won 13 consecutive fights since 2012 and had defended his 125-pound belt a UFC-record 11 straight times.
“This is a dream come true, from Olympic gold medalist to UFC champion,” Cejudo said. “I was born right here in Los Angeles, in a two bedroom apartment. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to these fans in California for their support.”
Johnson, who didn’t appear to be upset with the judges’ call, was the only flyweight champion in UFC history.
Although successful in striking, Johnson didn’t have his usual resourceful performance in his return from a lay-off of 10 months.
Johnson knocked out Cejudo in the first round of their first meeting in 2016, but Cejudo showed off everything he had learned in the interim.
Cejudo wasted no time after his victory to call out the winner of the Dillashaw-Garbrandt clash, suggesting he would be happy to step up in weight class to make the fight happen
Additional reporting by Associated Press