Image licensed from USA Today Sports
Arguably the biggest matchup of bad-blood in the UFC will have its second chapter this Saturday night in Los Angeles at UFC 227. TJ Dillashaw (15-3) took the UFC Bantamweight belt off Cody Garbrandt (11-1) at UFC 217 in November. Cody “No Love” Garbrandt is determined to get his belt back which would likely force a trilogy. Garbrandt had some early success, knocking down Dillashaw in the first round before he was saved by the horn. Dillashaw showed an ability to recover very quickly and put his opponent away in the second round. With the back and forth nature of the first fight, it the rematch is sure to be close.
Dillashaw looks to ice the rivalry
TJ Dillashaw said time and time again that Cody Garbrandt did not deserve a rematch after getting knocked out in the second round in his first title defense but the UFC decided to make the fight anyway. Dillashaw wanted to drop down to flyweight to take on Demetrious Johnson but after that fight fell through, Dillashaw turned his focus back to his former training partner.
To avoid getting clipped by Garbrandt like he did at the end of the first round in their first fight, Dillashaw will need to utilize his excellent footwork. “Lucky” is not a word I like to use when talking about one of the greatest bantamweights of all time but Dillashaw is certainly fortunate that he was dropped at the very end of the round. If Garbrandt hits him like that again, do not expect Dillashaw to be allowed off the hook. TJ Dillashaw has some of the best and most unique footwork in the UFC so he needs to use it instead of letting his ego force him to stand and bang with Cody. A brawl type of fight is not one that will go his way.
TJ Dillashaw is the favorite in this fight because of his complete toolkit. He throws unexpected combinations and every kick is followed up with a punch. If the fight goes to the ground, the former Division I wrestler and sneaky submissions of Dillashaw will likely have the advantage. He also has a black belt in Muay Thai and could do some great work from the clinch. Clinching with Garbrandt will take away some of his power and allow Dillashaw to tire his opponent out and bring the fight into deep water.
“No Love” looks for revenge
Cody Garbrandt is hungry to get his belt back. We saw him win the belt by defeating Dominick Cruz in a way that Cruz had never been dominated. In that fight, Garbrandt also proved that he can go all five rounds and maintain his power throughout. Despite dropping Cruz during the title fight, it became the second fight of Garbrandt’s career that did not end in a knockout.
With nine knockouts in 11 wins as a bantamweight, it is no secret what Cody Garbrandt’s game plan is. He wants to walk TJ Dillashaw down and pressure him until one of his bombs gets through. Garbrandt was 32-1 as an amateur boxer so if this fight stays on the feet and he can avoid fighting emotionally, he has a great chance. He can put away anyone in the division with one punch and we all saw how hurt Dillashaw was in that first fight. One clean punch could earn Cody Garbrandt the belt once again.
The defense of Cody Garbrandt will be huge in this one. He had the footwork to keep up with Dominick Cruz so he should be able to handle Dillashaw as well too. Perhaps the most important thing for Garbrandt is to keep his hands up after throwing a punch. TJ Dillashaw will return every strike with a punch or a kick of his own. Getting countered like that could easily put Garbrandt to sleep again if he is not careful.
TJ Dillashaw is like a Swiss Army Knife. No matter where the fight goes, he has a chance to win. He now has the confidence to stand and strike with Cody Garbrandt but that could be misleading. He knocked him out after being pretty much knocked out himself last time so it is impossible to say he has a huge striking advantage. While we have not seen Garbrandt on the ground much, Dillashaw might want to utilize his grappling at some point in the fight.
Cody Garbrandt is one of the best strikers in the sport. He puts people out with such ease and dominated a great champion like Dominick Cruz in an incredibly impressive performance. Now that he has finally relaxed in terms of the rivalry, he might fight smarter and not put himself in a position to get clipped. If he fights like he did against Cruz, it could be a long night for Dillashaw.
This fight has a pretty good chance to take place entirely on the feet like the first one did If that happens, Garbrandt is more likely to get the win. He has a way of picking apart opponents and dropping them over and over before going for the kill. As long as he can avoid the counter strikes of Dillashaw, he could get his belt back.
Pick: Cody Garbrandt +105
Free Ultimate Guide to MMA Betting
Free Ultimate Guide to MMA Betting
You want to win? This guide was created for you as The Bible for the MMA Sports Bettor. The most compherensive collection of strategies, tips, and techniques to consistently grow your bankroll.Download it now!
You want to win? This guide was created for you as The Bible for the MMA Sports Bettor.
Download it now!