UFC Fight Night Dillashaw vs. Cruz Review
UFC FIGHT NIGHT: DILLASHAW VS. CRUZ
Sunday January 17, 2016
Location: TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
UFC Bantamweight Championship
T.J. Dillashaw(c) vs. Dominick Cruz
R1: Dillashaw is swinging at air in the first few minutes. Cruz is still quick as all hell, so Dillashaw is likely going to want to get ahold of him and go to work. Cruz ducks out of the way and lands a nice two-punch combo. This is pretty incredible to watch in person. Dillashaw stalked him the entire round, did catch him occassionally, but Cruz was better on the feet and quicker. Cruz was walking kinda gingerly to the corner like he hurt his foot or something. Might be something to watch. 10-9 Cruz.
R2: Cruz is slowing down a bit and his mouth is open. Dillashaw is finding a rhythm, landing two head kicks and a few punches. Cruz gets back to back takedowns, but can't hold Dillashaw down for long. These two can't seem to hit each other. Cruz stared down Dillashaw after the round ended. There's definitely is something up with Cruz's right leg. Dillashaw 10-9.
R3: Media scores are all over the place, meaning this is a close fight and probably will end up in another controversal decision. Dillashaw again is landing more and more shots as Cruz slows down, mouth agape. The head kick is landing time and time again. Cruz gets a takedown with less than two minutes to go, but Dillashaw reverses and both guys get a huge pop. People are quietly just watching this play out -- it's kinda nice. Cruz is getting kicked when he looks to escape out the side hatch after a quick clinch. Jesus, that's another tough round to score. I think Dillashaw took that one 10-9, but it's a coinflip.
R4: Another Cruz takedown is reversed in milliseconds. Looks like Dillashaw has some swelling above the right eye. Cruz with some nice combos and Dillashaw answers with a takedown and submission attempt. Dillashaw has some blood above his left eye as Cruz is hitting a little harder on the exchanges. Again, another glare at Dillashaw as he walks away. I had this 10-9 Cruz and all tied up going into the 5th.
R5: I don't even know how you begin to score this round or this fight. I would say 10-10, but that's the coward's way out. I think Cruz won that 10-9 and indeed, he is limping around in the cage. He might have a broken foot and is chatting with Dana and Lorenzo about it.
Cruz wins a tight split decision and the crowd is euphoric. What a moment. Dillashaw is just in disbelief, pacing around. Cruz says that his left foot was injured coming into the fight and is "torn in half" right now. Oh boy. Cruz says to Kenny Florian, "Quit copying and pasting, man!" Dillashaw thought he had the fight won, but there's no surprise there. Cruz is noticably limping badly walking to the back.
Anthony Pettis vs. Eddie Alvarez
R1: Alvarez doesn't want to give Pettis any distance and is grinding him up against the cage. Finally free and Pettis shows why that game plan might be best as he throws a head kick and later a glancing back kick with crazy speed. Seconds later, Alvarez is back to the grind. Pettis is punishing Alvarez's right side with kicks. There's a group of fans here who are just yelling nonstop swears to Alvarez, but security is doing nothing. I'll give that 10-9 to Alvarez because of the grappling control. I can see a round for Pettis as he did land more clean shots, just not a ton of them.
R2: Pettis a lot faster than Alvarez, landing two punch combos before Alvarez can respond. EA is going away from the cage grind and wants more of a kickboxing match. Tight round but I give it to Pettis 10-9. Thinking about round 2, I can see Pettis winning that so EA has to come out strong in the third. Security finally told the swearing dudes to hush up. I bet that won't last long.
R3: If Alvarez thought he won the first round, his approach of grinding here in the third makes a ton of sense. Bloodied up, Alvarez secured a takedown about halfway through the round but Pettis nearly turned it into a heel hook. As Pettis worked his way back up, Alvarez dropped him back down. The last 30 seconds or so were a labor for Alvarez physically. People are going to be pissed one way or another, but this was a close, close round and fight. I gave this round to EA 10-9. Big "Eddie" chant as we await the judges' scores.
Lots of cheers and boos for the decison and Alvarez's post-fight promo. He said he wants the champion next and you know, he might have earned it.
Travis Browne vs. Matt Mitrione
R1: After a lot of circling, Browne opened up on his feet, landing a kick. Mitrione is charging in, but Browne is just missing on a crisp counter. Browne hits the deck, but it was hard to tell whether it was a slip or from a punch as he was back up quick. With 10 seconds to go, Mitrione got poked in the right eye as he charged in. Doctors came in, but Mitrione sad he was ok. I'll give that to Browne 10-9, but that was kinda dull.
R2: Ohh boy. Browne poked Mitrione again, but because there was a flurry of action, the ref couldn't stop the fight or didn't see it so they kept going. Mitrione is fighting with one eye closed and still no stoppage. The look on the ref's face during this was priceless. The doctors came in to examine as the ref finally called timeout and they didn't seem to want to let it go. Mitrione seems fine though and we finally get back to action. You know there's another poke coming though. You just know it. Weird spot as Browne feigned a strike and Mitrione covered up as if he had been hit...but he didn't pop right back to action.
What a weird round. The one thing I know is these people hate Browne. 10-9 Browne, I guess?
R3: Browne hit a hard straight right that would have dropped either you or I, but man, this is not a good fight. Browne looks tentative, Mitrione probably can't see, and this crowd is restless. Mitrione has some nasty looking swelling above his right eye. Browne hits a huge takedown, is in full mount, and is pounding away with two minutes to go. With less than a minute to go, the ref calls it and Browne is enjoying a raining of boos. Mitrione's eye is enormous and the crowd responds like someone just got shot.
Bad fight, everyone hates Browne (no post-fight interview), and Mitrione's eye will be one of the most shared pics
Ross Pearson vs. Francisco Trinaldo
R1: Crowd booking early for this one as there's a lot of feeling out...kind of like when a couple first starts dating. Trinaldo punctuated the round with a huge slam that nearly put Pearson on his head. I think that won the round 10-9 for Trinaldo.
R2: Pearson scored a big takedown, but couldn't hold Trinaldo down for long. Following a nice spinning kick from Pearson, Trinaldo got Pearson up against the cage and landed two big knees of the 'ooh...ahh' variety. Pearson was game to get in there and throw, but Trinaldo's collection of kicks and knees are finding places to inflict pain. 10-9 Trinaldo.
R3: Trinaldo is throwing Pedro Martinez 1999 heat in there. I remember a few weeks ago when Dave Meltzer was talking about judging, seeing the impact of the punches and how it meant something when it came to scoring. Not having been to a live UFC event in 16 months, I kinda dismissed it as, "Yeah, but..." Seeing this live, however, you really get the idea of how hard these Trinaldo shots are coming in. Pearson got a takedown midway through the round as Trinaldo is starting to fade a bit. Tight round that I'd give to Pearson but not by much.
Trinaldo wins and Pearson doesn't like the decision.