Preview: TJ Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt
Featured Image Credit: Fansided
The UFC heads back to the Sunshine State and the Staples Center in LA, where a long-awaited rematch at 135 is set to take place between TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt. TJ Dillashaw is champion following the KO finish of Cody in the first meeting last year. After being nearly finished in the second, he came roaring back and scored the knockout, leading to one of the greatest photos in MMA history (see below). It was such a great fight the first time around, and these two are determined to have the belt around their waist when they leave the arena Saturday. Along with just the belt, there is BAD BLOOD between these two (there will be more on that next week as a post-fight thought), and it looks to boil over into the octagon this weekend.
TJ is a ninja turtle. I said it on our podcast, and I’m writing it down now. He is über-jacked at 135, and he’s a great champion. He is a great demonstration of what MMA looks like at the highest level with his head movement (S/O to Edmund), awkward striking style, wrestling background, and bringing it all together with elite power and aggression in the cage. He’ll need to use that movement to his advantage Saturday and avoid the heavy hands of Cody Garbrandt. If he can do that and land some big shots of his own, look for him to retain his strap.
Cody Garbrandt is a different kind of elite MMA fighter: a specialist in his craft that has gotten good enough at the rest of the sport to be lethal. He probably has the fastest hands in the division, elite boxing technique, power in both hands, and the uncanny ability to find his range and figure out his opponents movement in the octagon. Look no further than the Dom Cruz fight to see that on display. The rest of his game isn’t necessarily world class, but he’s good enough to keep the fight on the feet when he wants to generally. He was also about 10 seconds away from finishing Dillashaw in the first fight, with TJ getting saved by the bell. If he can avoid the big shot and do the same as last time, don’t be surprised if he regains his once lost championship belt.