UFC’s latest Fight Night offering was a card eagerly looked forward too, as it had an explosive main event with a returning Dominick Cruz looking to make good of the long shown promise.
At the end of it all, Cruz backed up his words by putting a stop to a dominant TJ Dillashaw reign to edge out a split decision victory in a 5-round battle. Dominick Cruz, who now holds a 20-1 record, has only competed twice since 2011, and put to rest all doubts surrounding his comeback to claim the bantamweight title.
The first round saw both the bantamweight standouts get a fair amount of strikes in to even out the score. Rounds two and three went to Cruz, who was one step ahead of Dillashaw in every aspect.
The championship rounds arguably went to the former Champion, yet, the judges’ decision tipped in Cruz’s favour as he looked the more impressive out of the two in the way he controlled the fight.
The title change wasn't the only major highlight of the night as former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez continued to pile up the woes on former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis.
Alvarez notched a split decision victory over Pettis that included six takedowns and some great clinch-work, to close the distance. This worked in Alvarez’s favour as Pettis couldn't land his infamous leg kicks and punches and was seen struggling to cope with the constant pressure.
In the post-fight interview, Alvarez demanded his next bout be a championship fight after his victory over Pettis – whose weakness is now being exploited after the Dos Anjos exposed it in their title fight last year.
The heavyweight bout of the night saw the desired result as Travis Browne stopped Matt Mitrione – 4 minutes into the third round – with a barrage of punches that left him with a bruised right eye. In the other Lightweight fight of the night, Ultimate Fighter alumni Francisco Trinaldo outclassed Ross Pearson in a three round fight to get the unanimous decision victory.
Below are the complete results from Fight Night 81 at TD Garden Boston, MA:
Main Card on Fox Sports 1
– Dominick Cruz def. T.J. Dillashaw, split-decision (48-47, 46-49, 49-46)
– Eddie Alvarez def. Anthony Pettis, split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
– Travis Browne def. Matt Mitrione, TKO (Round 3, 4:09)
– Francisco Trinaldo def. Ross Pearson, unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Prelims on Fox Sports 1
– Patrick Cote def. Ben Saunders, TKO (Round 2, 1:14)
– Ed Herman def. Tim Boetsch, TKO (Round 2, 1:39)
– Chris Wade def. Mehdi Baghdad, submission (Round 1, 4:30)
– Luke Sanders def. Maximo Blanco, submission (Round 1, 3:38)
Prelims on UFC Fight Pass
– Paul Felder def. Daron Cruickshank, submission (Round 3, 3:56)
– Ilir Latifi def. Sean O’Connell, knockout (Round 1, 0:30)
– Charles Rosa def. Kyle Bochniak, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
– Rob Font def. Joey Gomez, TKO (Round 2, 4:13)
– Francimar Barroso def. Elvis Mutapcic, unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)Published 18 Jan 2016, 11:41 IST