It was a whirlwind 24 plus hours for UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw. The champion showed what a true champion is made of. In Saturday night’s UFC 177 main event, Dillashaw retained the bantamweight championship by defeating Joe Soto by knockout 2:20 into the fifth and final round.
People didn’t think Soto would make it a fight, but he proved his mettle at the outset by standing toe to toe with the champion and proving that he belongs in the cage with his occasional training partner. Soto showed good standup defense and was able to block some of the shots that Dillashaw was throwing and was able to surprise Dillashaw with a good jab.
Dillashaw kept coming right at Soto throwing continuously at the late replacement challenger. To the surprise of a lot of fans, the fight made it to the fifth and final round. Like his fight with former bantamweight champion Renan Barao at UFC 173, Dillashaw was up four rounds to none and wasn’t going to ride home a decision.
The final sequence of the fight occurred when Dillashaw stuffed a Soto takedown attempt and a moment later threw a head kick that staggered Soto. Dillashaw seized the opportunity by going right at Soto, throwing a vicious left hook and a few more punches and referee John McCarthy stops the fight.
The California native was originally supposed to rematch Barao, but the Brazilian had to bow of out of the fight on Friday. While cutting weight, Barao was getting out of the hot tub, started feeling dizzy, hit his head against the wall and was taken to a Sacramento hospital.
In his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Dillashaw said he didn’t care who the UFC put in front of him next.