How does one say “putazos” in Portuguese? Because odds are that’s what’s going to go down this Saturday night at UFC 173. The main event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will feature two of the best strikers in the UFC/WEC Bantamweight division when Renan Barão defends his Bantamweight Championship title against TJ Dillashaw.
Barão is the latest rising star in MMA and is currently ranked as the third best pound-for-pound fighter behind Jon Jones and Jose Aldo in UFC rankings. The Brazilian fighter, who can kick with the speed and grace of a gazelle (although in a different dimension where gazelles can knockout opponents with spinning back kicks) and choke dudes out with some sweet submission skills, holds a record 34-1-0 and hasn’t lost a match in nine years.
His only loss came during his first professional fight, and a No Contest against Claudemir Souza in December 2007 disrupted what could have been a record-setting winning streak. Instead, he’s had to settle for a record of 34 unbeaten with 22 consecutive MMA victories (7 – 0 in UFC) so far.
His opponent may be fresh-faced with a record 10-2-0 but he’s no slouch. Dillashaw currently holds the highest striking rate in UFC/WED Bantamweight history with four-to-five significant strikes per minute. He also holds the fourth highest takedown rate in the division (3 every 15 minutes). Unfortunately for him, Barão is the best takedown defender ever what with him stopping 22 of 23 attempts against him.
So what’s going to happen when the 4th best takedown fighter collides with the best takedown defender? ¡Chingadazos! Dillashaw can strike lethally while on his feet or on the ground while Barão can strike dudes in the neck with his fists or feet at lightning-quick speed.
There are plenty of sports sites (Bleacher Report, for example) claiming an easy victory for Barão. What they forget though is that Dillashaw isn’t just fighting for a title. He’s also fighting for the respect of his camp, Team Alpha Male. Members of his camp have yet to beat Barão or his teammates in Nova União, and they’re itching for payback. The least Dillashaw could do is draw first blood. He could also pull off the greatest move in underdog history and win.
UFC 173 starts at 7pm Pacific this Saturday May 24th on PPV. The card also includes Dan Henderson vs. Daniel Cormier, Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger, Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco Rivera, and Jamie Varner vs. James Krauze.
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