UFC on FOX 16 – Dillashaw Vs Barao | Results and Summary
UFC on FOX 16 – Dillashaw vs Barao was an event packed with up-and-coming fighters looking to prove themselves worthy of a Pay Per View card as well, as veteran fighters trying to re-establish their relevance in the rankings.
One of the more notable bouts from Chicago’s United Center was Joe Lauzon vs Takenori Gomi, a matchup between two fading veterans.
Takenori Gomi was a Champion when Lauzon was having his first amateur fights in Massachusetts, holding the longest winning-streak in Pride FC’s history. Lauzon made his UFC debut in 2006 against his future Ultimate Fighter coach, Jens Pulver.
The two veteran workhorses (neither fighter has ever been in serious title contention in the UFC) might not be advanced in age by MMA standards (Lauzon is just 31, Gomi 36) but have endured a tremendous amount of punishment in their careers. The implications of that could be seen most clearly on the face and in the performance of Gomi.
The “Fireball Kid” seemed to be missing his fire, unable to put together a meaningful series of strikes on Lauzon, or fend of Lauzon’s fluid takedown attempt
Finding his stride early, Lauzon dropped Gomi to the mat and began raining down strikes from back mount, flattening out Gomi, bizarrely getting up and stepping away from the downed fighter.
Referee Herb Dean seemed startled by the abrupt end in the action and stepped in only when Gomi failed to move from the ground where Lauzon had left him.
Dean seemed to have trouble realizing that Gomi was in trouble, calling an end to the bout at 2:27 of the first round.
In the post-fight interview, Lauzon stated that
“I thought [Dean] was stopping the fight,” Lauzon said. “I really did. He was right on top of me. He didn’t put his hands on me, which I guess that’s what I should’ve waited for, but Gomi was clearly unconscious. He’s face down. I’m hitting him in the head a couple of times. He’s not moving at all.”
Lauzon’s experience and awareness allowed him to see that he had won far before the referee did, saving his opponent from serious harm even though he took a risk of allowing him back into the fight to do so.
Miesha Tate vs Jessica Eye was just yet another example of the dysfunction that currently grips the UFC women’s bantamweight division.
Tate (currently ranked number 2 at bantamweight) defeated Eye (ranked 5th) by unanimous decision and cements her place yet again in contention for the title. That, however, is exactly the problem.
Miesha has run up against current champion Ronda Rousey twice, losing both encounters via (what else?) armbar. That said, she has had the most success challenging Rousey’s dominance over the UFC bantamweight division and has the distinction of being the only contender to take Ronda out of the 1st round.
The paucity of truly serious competition for the title makes the rankings fairly academic: who can really challenge Rousey’s dominance? We’ll have to see if Chris Cyborg can bring a real challenge to the champ.
All of that said, Tate vs Eye was an entertaining back-and-forth match that showcased both fighter’s striking skills. Tate appeared to have a much more complete game on the ground, nearly finishing the fight by guillotine choke near the end of the 2nd round, Eye only being saved by the bell.
The main event of the night, TJ Dillashaw vs Renan Barao was an exciting striking match between two truly dangerous fighters.
Each fighter came out hard, but the difference in speed and especially the footwork of TJ Dillashaw quickly made all the difference. Dillashaw rapidly switched stances and landed his lead jab from southpaw stance repeatedly, setting up a major advantage in significant strikes landed in the first round.
Dillashaw’s lead in the striking only lengthened in the second round on (he landed 50 strikes to Barao’s 31 in the 1st, landing 44 vs 14 in the 2nd). His speed advantage became more apparent as Barao was countered at every turn, gaining in confidence as the fight went on.
The inevitable finish came late in the 4th round which began with a left hook that rocked Barao. Dillashaw showed the patience of a champion as he threw a viciously accurate and powerful flurry of punches that prompted referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.