The UFC 173 main event had Renan Barao's 30+ fight winning streak at one end, while T.J. Dillashaw was trying to end Team Alpha Male's long losing streak in Zuffa title fights. Barao's undisputed bantamweight belt was at stake in Las Vegas, and the Brazilian was expected to easily defend it against heavy underdog Dillashaw.
Round 1 started with Dillashaw opening things up with leg kicks and even tagging Barao with an uppercut. Barao countered a leg kick with a hard left hand. Dillashaw looked smooth and relaxed on the feet and in an unbelievable moment he cracked Barao with a HARD right hand and sent him on his back. He went in for the kill both for the KO first and then a neck crank second. Barao survived them both and tried to attack with a leglock during that barrage.
Dillashaw just looked like the faster fighter and it showed in his striking and his movement. Barao's best round was the 2nd when Dillashaw got a tad careless and took his licks, but otherwise wasn't seriously hurt by anything except an accidental groin kick. Barao was getting tagged repeatedly in round 3 and seemingly close to being out on his feet. At least his takedown defense was still rock solid as he stuffed Dillashaw's attempt before the horn sounded. Round 4 was more domination from Dillashaw, who basically needed to avoid a Silva-Sonnen I miracle to become champion. He sure avoided it by wobbling Barao with a head kick, firing away with punches before flooring him with a left hand. Herb Dean stopped the fight after Dillashaw continued to batter a tired and badly hurt Barao on the ground. What a performance, what a monumental upset. Team Alpha Male has its UFC champion.
Official Result: T.J. Dillashaw def. Renan Barao via TKO (strikes) at 2:26 of round 5.
Dillashaw (10-2) turned in not only the single best performance of his career, but dominated Barao (32-2, 1 NC) in a way that no one even conceived. It wasn't even close. Barao's winning streak comes to an end, and Dillashaw is the first challenger to take the belt from the champion in 2014. This will go down as one of the biggest upsets in UFC history if not MMA history.
Stay tuned for continuing post-fight coverage throughout the night and for the remainder of the weekend here on Bloody Elbow.