Wow, what a night of fights that UFC 173 provided in Las Vegas, Nevada. Contender-ship status was proclaimed in each of the two fights leading up to the main event, and new champion was crowned in the Bantamweight division. Four out of the five fights on the main card wound up with finishes, providing a little spark from the earlier prelims; which had five out of the seven fights finish in decisions. One of the UFC’s best pound for pound fighters goes down, Daniel Cormier defeats a legend of the game; and Lawler puts a stamp on his status as the number one contender in the welterweight division. The night of fights are now over, it is now time to recollect of what went down inside the UFC octagon.
T.J. Dillashaw def. Renan Barao via fifth-round TKO– What a performance by T.J. Dillashaw, what can anyone say really? Barao was the heavy favorite, and was undeniably one of the best pound for pound fighters in the organization; and T.J. Dillashaw just completely outclassed him. For every single punch or kick Barao threw, Dillashaw would provide a flurry of combinations to answer. The Team Alpha Male fighter was quicker, more proficient, and the more precise fighter then the champion. Dillashaw established his dominance within the first round, sending Barao to the mat with a thunderous overhand right. Round two it seemed as if Barao gained some of his wits back, landing some nice strikes of his own; but Dillashaw danced his way in and out of arms way, his movement throughout the fight was reminiscent of the division’s former champ, Dominic Cruz. Rounds three and four T.J. was just running laps around Barao; picking precise angles and bloodying the heavily favored Barao. The decision was in hand for Dillashaw heading into the final round. The challenger could have coasted through the final round and possibly earned the unanimous decision, Dillashaw decided against playing it safe and finished off the champion. A nice combination dropped Barao to the mat, where Dillashaw swarmed him with hammer fists; leading Herb Dean to step in and stop the bout. Barao had not been finished in his fighting career, guess there is a first time for everything.
Daniel Cormier def. Dan Henderson via submission (rear-naked choke)– The future is bright for Daniel Cormier, and a title fight is just around the corner. In what was supposed to be a possible number one contender fight for the UFC light heavyweight championship, it was quite one sided from the beginning. Cormier rag dolled the mixed martial arts legend around for three rounds; out wrestled and just completely wore down the aging Dan Henderson. The three rounds of the fight consisted of Cormier slamming Henderson to the mat, gaining dominant positions; and raining down some heavy ground and pound. The third round came about and Cormier just practically picked Henderson up like a child and threw him fiercely down to the mat. From there Cormier worked his way onto Henderson’s back, where he would proceed to sink in the rear naked choke to finish the fight. Dan Henderson now has four losses in his last five fights, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
Robbie Lawler def. Jake Ellenberger via third-round TKO– What a performance by Robbie Lawler to dispose of Jake Ellenberger like he did. The number one contender for the welterweight championship proved to everyone in attendance of what kind of caliber fighter he really is. Just months after being involved in a fire fight with Johny Hendricks for the UFC welterweight championship, Robbie seemed as if he wanted to show that there is more to his game then just brawling. Lawler landed heavy shots with pin point accuracy on Ellenberger, showing off a wide array of kicks along with his boxing. Ellenberger came out with some urgency in the third, but Lawler had an answer; finally finishing off the “juggernaut” with a perfectly placed knee to the face, followed up with some ground and pound when Ellenberger buckled to the mat.
Takeya Mizugaki def. Francisco Rivera via unanimous decision– Rivera was widely known for his punching power, it was Mizugaki’s power that came as a surprise. The Japanese fighter dropped Rivera late in the first round with an overhand right, Rivera was saved by the end of the round. Second round both fighters went toe to toe, with many wild exchanges thrown between the both of them. In the final round Mizugaki took Rivera down and kept him there most of the way,earning him the unanimous decision.
James Krause def. Jamie Varner via first-round TKO (injury)– What unfortunate circumstances for Jamie Varner. Varner desperately needed a victory to maintain a spot on the UFC roster after suffering losses in three of his last four fights. Jamie Varner injured his leg early on in the bout against Krause, even though he valiantly fought off Krause until the conclusion of the first round. Listening in what Varner and the doctor were discussing after the first, Varner had seemed to tell the doctor that his ankle was broken. The doctor immediately waved off the fight, awarding Krause an unsatisfying TKO victory.
In other notable fights, three ‘The Ultimate Fighter‘ winners all fought to victory. Tony Ferguson was the only one of the three to finish his fight in devastating fashion. All prelim bouts that took place earlier on the card are listed below for viewing.
Michael Chiesa def. Francisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision
Tony Ferguson def. Katsunori Kikuno via first-round TKO
Chris Holdsworth def. Chico Camus via unanimous decision
Mitch Clarke def. Al Iaquinta via submission
Vinc Pichel def. Anthony Njokuani via unanimous decision
Sam Sicilia def. Aaron Phillips via unanimous decision
Li JingLiang def. David Michaudem via split decision
Next week the Ultimate Fighting Championship will have two cards take place on the same day! Mark Munoz will be taking on fellow middleweight, Gegard Mousasi; in an all Fight Pass event. The second event will be ‘The Ultimate Fighter Brazil‘ finale as Stipe Miocic will face Fabio Maldonado on short notice. For all coverage UFC, make sure to check in on the Guardian Liberty Voice for more information and updates.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Sports Writer Leading the coverage in MMA