Happy Diaz vs. Poirier Day! BUT CONCENTRATE. This weekend we have a fantastic card on our hands ladies and gents. We have two title fights and a lot more beautiful violence to cover so if you don’t mind, I’m not gonna be about the bullshit today.
The Main Event
T.J Dillashaw (C) vs. Cody Garbrandt – Bantamweight (135lbs) Title Fight
When you really sit back and think about it the first and last time T.J Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt fought was a perfect encapsulation of who they were then as fighters. Garbrandt was a slick as hell boxer with a cannon of a right hand and who had probably gotten just a little too cocky for his own good. That said, if you had grown up on the wrong side of the poverty line in Nowhere, OH and had risen to be the undefeated Bantamweight Champion of the UFC, you might have too.
Tyler Jeffrey Dillashaw was (and is) a world-class MMA kickboxer and had on his side the confidence that he never really lost his title, despite what the UFC and Massachusetts State Athletic Commission said.
Dillashaw won fight 1, as we all know. After getting knocked down by a Garbrandt sledgehammer, overhand right and potentially saved by the bell at the end of RD1, “Killashaw” came back to make “No Love” pay for his arrogance, ending his night with a head kick not long after.
All of the above makes this fight REALLY tough to pick, especially when you finally acknowledge, in the 4th paragraph of a blog, the animosity between these two guys. I’ve never believed an MMA feud more than this. They hate each other. So did that blind Garbrandt the first time? Will it Dillashaw this time? It’s a really hard aspect of this fight to quantify.
— UFC (@ufc) August 2, 2018
What makes this an even harder one to call is that, in my opinion, both guys are equally skilled at what they do. It is not like a great wrestler vs a great striker fight where you can try and guess which cancels out the other. “No Love” is a slippery-as-they-come boxer with great wrestling to boot while the reigning champ is pure poetry-in-motion with his stance changing-heavy style of Muay Thai. Oh and he is an excellent wrestler too.
So who wins? Who takes this one? For this underappreciated by his boss blogger, it is a battle of head vs. heart. My heart says Garbrandt via RD1 thud. He won’t get as cocky, he is a lot more focused, and he got all the treatment he could find for his ailing back so he’ll get the best of the champ this time. However, my head says the champ. T.J is – Godfuckingdammit I’m talking about him again – Conor McGregor-esque in his confidence. He simply doesn’t see himself losing. He doesn’t recognize it as a reality. He has probably been through every last scenario this fight might throw at him in his head. So that’s it. I love to watch both these guys fight but I have to take the champ.
Official Pick: T.J Dillashaw retains his title by KO (RD4)
Demetrious Johnson (C) vs. Henry Cejudo – Flyweight (125lbs) Title Fight
This is why I get paid the big bucks. To talk about snoozers like this. I’d love to pick the upset. I’d love to say Cejudo is going to pull a Rocky and beat the longtime flyweight champ, but alas. Cejudo is ultra talented. He is an Olympic wrestler who has developed a great kickboxing game and has still-improving but impressive hands. With that said, apart from Wilson Reis, a grappler first and second, Cejudo hasn’t finished anyone since 2013. Before knocking out Reis and decisioning Sergio Pettis, he had been beat on points by Joe B in one of the most lackluster fights the division has ever seen. I’m not trying to dump on Cejudo, but my point is I would have needed to see him DESTROY a few opponents in a row to give him a shot against D.J, who, like him or not, loves to win fights.
Official Pick: Demetrious Johnson retains his title by submission (RD5)
Additional Fun Fight
Pedro Munhoz vs. Brett Johns (Bantamweight fight)
In case anyone has forgot BRETT JOHNS WON A FIGHT BY CALF SLICER! CALF SLICER! LAST YEAR! That just does not fucking happen. Including that win, the scrappy, scrawny 135er from Wales won his first three UFC bouts and was undefeated before running into the Funkmaster in his last fight. That would be a wake up call to a lot of up and comers. But I think he needed that to keep progressing and should be using it as motivation going into this tussle with Munhoz.
“The Young Punisher” has gone 5-3 in his UFC tenure, but that belies the fact that his three losses were to Rafael “No one has noticed I’ve been in the top-3 for 10 years” Assuncao, Jimmie Rivera, and John Dodson – three big name, top flight guys at Bantamweight. He is a black belt in a BJJ and has a particular affinity for latching onto a nasty guillotine.
Basically, someone is getting tapped.
Official Pick: Pedro Munhoz wins by submission (RD2)
– Cub Swanson fights in the third-to-the-top bout of the night. He is one of the reasons yours truly got into MMA and always brings a boxing-heavy, fun, complete style of mixed martial arts to the cage. He fight Renato Carneiro who is a savage in his own right.
– There is a LOT of talk coming from both main event participants as well as D.J that the winner of the 135lb title fight will drop down and fight “Mighty Mouse” for his title in a superfight. We’ll see if that get’s done. Here’s betting Johnson’s gigantic sense of self-worth that it won’t.
Enjoy the scraps.