If you were not aware UFC just had their latest ESPN event this past Saturday, July 24th where we saw the former men's bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw make his return after a 2-year suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs and he made his return taking on surging bantamweight contender and the number 2 ranked Cory Sandhagen in a 5 round main event.
This bout took place inside the UFC apex in Las Vegas.
Before getting into the main event I will go down the results of the main card really quick leading up to the main event.
The main card kicked off with a complete banger of a fight between two bantamweights in Randy Costa taking on Adrian Yanez and in that fight we saw Yanez have an amazing comeback after getting pieced up all of the first round and come back to get the second-round knockout on Costa.
The second fight on the main card was the Woman's flyweight bout between Maycee Barber taking on Miranda Maverick and whether I agree or not the incompetent judges of the night gave Maycee Barber the win by a split decision which in my opinion she did not win at all and Miranda got utterly robbed and if you go online and check the reactions of many other fighters and watchers they would all agree besides Maycee and her camp itself. Regardless I won't go far into that.
Next fight was the featherweight bout between veteran Darren Elkins taking on Darrick Minner and this fight was pretty much the same as how every fight Elkins is in where he wins. He got beat up for the beginning of the fight and then as Minner started slowing down Elkins took advantage and broke him completely and got the TKO stoppage in round 2, and yes of course there was blood. all from Elkins.
The co-main event of the night was a very entertaining fight between bantamweights Raulian Paiva taking on Kyler Phillips.
In the first round, we saw Kyler dominate on the feet and even got a knockdown but once again these incompetent judges don't know how to do their jobs and didn't count the round as a 10-8 round as it should have been in my opinion.
The next 2 rounds we did see Paiva make a comeback effort and possibly won those 2 rounds. The judges not giving that first round a 10-8 screwed it up for Kyler and instead of the fight being a draw like it should have been the judges gave the fight to Paiva by majority decision and only one of the judges saw it as a draw with the other two saying Paiva won.
Moving on to the main event between TJ Dillashaw vs Cory Sandhagen as I said TJ was coming in after serving a 2-year suspension and Cory has been knocking dudes out left and right.
This fight was definitely a fun one to watch and with these two being former training partners in the past it made it that much more interesting.
First-round starts and both guys are somewhat feeling each other out and the cat and mouse game is being played where TJ was the cat and Cory was the mouse and TJ was pressuring the whole time while Cory was sticking and moving and even landed a very flush flying knee and somehow transitioned into a reverse triangle on some crazy stuff.
Although TJ was able to get out and land some good ground and pound after and even got cory down with a takedown after cory threw a lackadaisical spinning attack but Cory got up not long after.
The round ends with TJ on top while Cory is trying to secure a leg lock and when TJ went back to his corner in between rounds he told his coach his knee was messed up from that last scenario.
It was very close as far as the strikes go in that round and Cory landed 15 to TJ’s 13 significant strikes but Cory landed the more bigger shots including that flying knee but TJ had octagon control with his pressure and that one takedown but only finished 1 out of 5 attempts so I still gave the round to Cory but that's just me.
The second round begins and this was Corys best round where he pieced TJ up for the majority of the round and near the middle part of the round Cory even dropped TJ with a quick left during a flurry but for whatever reason it was never considered a knockdown which makes zero sense to me.
At the 2 minute mark on the clock, TJ got hit with a big punch that opened up a nasty cut on his eyebrow right next to the top of his nose.
For the last two minutes of that round we saw more of the same of Cory landing the better and more shots but the round ends with TJ holding Cory up against the cage and in this round, Cory landed 26 of his 55 strikes thrown while TJ only landed 12 of his 41 strikes.
At that point in my opinion it was 2-0 for Cory going into the 3rd round.
In the 3rd round is where we saw TJ start to wake up and completely shook off that knee injury he suffered at the end of the first round and all of this round he pressured Cory and started throwing and landing leg kick after leg kick,
granted he was still getting hit with strikes at distance by Cory but the round was more of the same throughout it and TJ outstrikes Cory 26 strikes to 23 and TJ also lands his second takedown of the fight out of 3 attempts that round.
A close round but TJ did enough to take it and going into the 4th round I had it 2 - 1 for Cory.
Round 4 was very similar to round 3 where TJ was attacking the legs more than anything and those were his best shots of the round, again he had octagon control and pressured the whole round but he was still getting caught from the outside with long strikes by Cory and Cory outstruck TJ this round 26 to TJ’s 19 strikes.
TJ also went for 5 takedowns and completed none of them in this round. Like I said TJs best moment was off of a bunch of leg kicks which in my opinion did not do enough to win the round and I gave that round to Cory and going into the last round I had Cory up 3 rounds to just 1.
In the 5th and final round, we saw both fighters just straight up go shot for shot all round and kept the striking numbers close where Cory landed 38 significant strikes to TJs 40 landed.
Once again though TJ landed a handful of solid leg kicks, But didn't do much damage going upstairs although he did land 25 strikes upstairs which was his best round as he didn't land more than 15 in any of the previous 4 rounds before this one.
It was a close round but id give it to TJ as he finished harder and landed more and had the octagon control one again.
The fight comes to an end and I personally had the fight 3 rounds to 2 for Cory but I am not a judge and the judges that were there made their decision and two of the three judges gave the fight to TJ 3 rounds to 2.
This fight wasn't a robbery like the Barber and Maverick fight was but I don't believe TJ did enough to win this fight.
Between the big number of missed takedowns, being outstruck just about every round, and the percentage of missed strikes compared to Cory should have spoken more volumes then TJ pressuring cory up against the cage and holding him there having control time and octagon control time for pressuring forward but like I said he was getting hit the whole time going forward.
Regardless the fight goes to TJ which throws him right back into title contention. Do I think he deserves a title shot in his next fight, not really?
I would like to see him fight one more time before that happens. But today which is Tuesday, July 27th TJ posted on his Instagram that he is getting surgery on his leg he was injured in the fight but it's not a super bad injury but he will be sidelined for a bit but when he comes back id like to see him fight again before any title talks.
Definitely sucks for Cory here but judges will never be held accountable so things like this will keep happening.
As always, Hope you guys enjoyed the read
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