After almost a year and a half on the sidelines plagued by injuries, Dominick Cruz was able to reclaim the UFC world bantamweight title through a razor-thin split decision victory over TJ Dillashaw at the main event of UFC Boston.
As expected, the two elite 135-pounders used their footwork and angles to set-up and land their shots. For Cruz’s part, he did not look like he was coming off a lengthy lay-off, as he was able to impose his game plan by using movement that in turn, had Dillashaw missing a lot of his strikes.
For the entire fight, Dillashaw was moving forward and pushing the action. His best moments during the fight were the thudding kicks he landed on Cruz’s left leg in the championship rounds. He was able to keep the same pace through the fifth round, landing more kicks. Cruz, however, was able to keep himself evasive throughout the fight, just enough not to take too much damage.
What was the high point of the fight?
Although he may have looked frustrated for the great majority of the fight because of Cruz’s movement, the high point of the fight was when Dillashaw began landing the hard leg kicks that had Cruz hurt. But like the gritty competitor that he is, Cruz toughed it out until the final bell, and was even able to emerge victorious.
Where do these two go from here?
Based on how the UFC handles sudden title changes, particularly for close fights such as this one, it would be expected for Dillashaw to get an immediate rematch against Cruz, sooner than later. If that does not pan out, Urijah Faber or number four-ranked bantamweight Rafael Assunção could be the next in line to face Cruz, once he gets back from injury.
Watch now, later, or never?
This fight gives us a peak at how MMA striking should be like in the near future. Gone are the days of the squared up Muay Thai stance, and more fighters are opting to take on a more movement-centric approach. If you’re a fan of blitzing, fast-paced action, this one is for you.