Wayne’s Walk Back Into Time – Dillashaw vs. Cruz
Let's walk back into time with Wayne and re score some great fights.
Article courtesy of Wayne Carl of NickPortellaMMA.com and MMA Freaks.
T.J. Dillashaw vs Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz
UFC Fight Night
January 17, 2016
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
The UFC Bantamweight title was on the line. A champion versus a former champion who never lost his belt inside the octagon. Champion T.J. Dillashaw 12-2 was coming off 4 straight dominate wins, including 2 highlight reel wins over the previously unstoppable Renan Barao.
Challenger Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz 20-1 was coming off a 477-day layoff due to injury. He had fought just over 60 seconds in a 1500-day span.
Who would win the battle of the best movers in MMA history?
Could Dillashaw become the master of movement?
Could Cruz overcome the odds and prove ring rust does not exist and it’s all in the mind set?
Would this be a true master vs the apprentice or had the game evolved past former champion Cruz?
As in previous editions of “Wayne’s Walk Back Into Time”. I will look to re-watch, re-score and re-cap this massive moment in our sports history.
** Please note the fight is re-watched with and without commentary. Below I will provide significant moments and a score round by round.
** No glove touch between the two champions.
** Attempted takedown early for Cruz-½ completed.
** Both TJ and Cruz have elite movement.
** Awkward in/out, left/right, side/side movement.
** Accurate inside leg kick by Cruz.
** TJ goes high with a head kick that misses.
** TJ aggressive-has octagon control.
** Wide looping hook lands for Cruz.
** Heavy body shot for Cruz.
** Attempted head kick TJ, slips and Cruz uses it to gain a takedown.
** TJ scrambles straight up.
** Attempted takedown by TJ, Cruz stuffs it.
** The head movement and distance control for Cruz is on point.
** Both fighters existing the pocket and out of danger.
** Both using level change feints.
** TJ more flatfooted than previous fights.
** Hard body kick for TJ.
** 3-punch combination for Cruz and he slides out of range.
** Hard calf kick to TJ’s left leg.
** TJ comes forward with hard shots, he’s loading up.
** Cruz lands a takedown.
** TJ scrambles straight back up.
** Attempted takedown by TJ, Cruz stuffs it easy.
10-9 Cruz (Cruz had takedowns and cleaner strikes giving him the opening stanza)
** TJ throwing hard and staying put in the pocket.
** Cruz countering and moving with superior movement.
** Hard counter right by Cruz.
** Cruz follows it up with a hard body shot.
** TJ still loading up and not landing.
** 6 punches from TJ and not one landed-he is frustrated.
** Cruz lands a hook to the unbalanced TJ, he drops to the ground.
** TJ lands a hard thigh kick.
** A lot of attacking from TJ-not much landing.
** Left hand lands for TJ, Cruz counters with a one/two.
** TJ not moving like previous fights, flat footed.
** TJ targeting legs-looks like a game plan.
** Switch stance changes as always for Cruz.
** Cruz stands and delivers a sharp left and slides out of harm’s way.
** Both fighters using feints and level changes.
** TJ lands a head kick-not much on it.
** Takedown by Cruz.
** Cruz lands a few ground and pound punches.
** TJ scrambles to his feet.
** Another takedown Cruz.
** Again, TJ scrambles to his feet and limits the damage.
10-9 Cruz (2 takedowns and his ability to not get hit has Cruz 2-0 up)
** TJ going for his power shots, planting his feet.
** Cruz and his movement has not skipped a beat, ring rust does not exist.
** TJ lands a leg kick, tries to double it up and Cruz catches his foot.
** Cruz countering TJ’s shots.
** TJ lands a high head kick but doesn’t follow up.
** Counter check hook by Cruz-beautiful.
** TJ just can’t seem to close the distance, punches coming up short.
** Chopping leg kicks by TJ.
** Takedown Cruz.
** TJ scrambles as Cruz tries for a head and arm lock.
** Cruz moves in/out, left/right and feints another takedown.
** TJ still on flat feet loading up power shots and leaving himself open to a counter.
** Cruz now starting to take the center of the octagon,
** Left, right, uppercut combination for Cruz-perfect.
** Attempted takedown TJ-doesn’t get it-didn’t set it up at all.
** Cruz lands a hard right on the buzzer.
10-9 Cruz (Cruz was more elusive, landed the cleaner shots once again and hit a takedown. TJ missing a lot more than he is landing)
** TJ comes out hard and with purpose.
** Cruz timing everything TJ does with sneaky counters.
** Hard right leg kick landed by TJ.
** A fired-up TJ loads up a few leg kicks.
** Another hard-accurate leg kick and Cruz hobbles-TJ’s best moment.
** Cruz shoots for a takedown-high fight IQ-and lands it.
** TJ scrambles and lands on the break.
** Punches traded by both combatants.
** Great straight left by TJ.
** Cruz returns with a nice jab.
** Both men feint level changes.
** TJ with octagon control.
** Takedown for TJ…finally.
** TJ trying to take Cruz’s back.
** Cruz scrambles to his feet.
** Hard knees in a clinch against the cage.
** Under hook battle won by TJ.
** TJ has a cut above his eye.
** Takedown attempt by Cruz, TJ stuffs it and lands a knee on the break.
10-9 Dillashaw (Dillashaw with Octagon control mixed in with more strikes and a takedown secures him this round. In my opinion he needs a K.O or submission)
** TJ comes straight out and targets the front leg of Cruz.
** Cruz looks in pain. That front leg is giving him issues.
** Great counters by Cruz.
** Hard strong body kick for TJ.
** TJ lands his best right hand for the fight.
** Finally, TJ’s timing has clicked.
** Cruz ducks into a hard-right head kick.
** 3-Punch combination landed for Cruz.
** Both are in counter punching mode.
** Elite movement even though he is in pain by Cruz.
** Spinning backfist Cruz.
** TJ lands a hard-accurate calf kick.
** Cruz now switching stances keeping his damaged leg out of harm’s way.
** TJ finally off his flat feet and moving like the old TJ.
** Cruz throwing 4 punch combinations.
** TJ feints a takedown and lands a nice jab.
** Another low leg kick for TJ.
** Both competitors stand flat footed long enough to trade punches.
** Cruz attempts a takedown-unsuccessful.
** Cruz attempts a flying knee.
** Respect shown on the buzzer.
10-9 Dillashaw (Close round with Dillashaw landing more significant strikes in that round)
48-47 Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz (Rounds 1,2,3)
Official Judges scores:
Dave Ginsberg 48-47 Cruz
Tony Weeks 49-46 Cruz
Sal D’Amato 49-46 Dillashaw
Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz would defend his title 5 months later against Uriah Faber and win a unanimous points decision in a trilogy fight.
He would lose his coveted title against Cody Garbrandt in late 2016.
Cruz would again be cut down by injuries and is still on the road to recovery and redemption.
T.J. Dillashaw would bounce back from this disappointing loss and fight his way up the chain.
He avenged a previous loss to Raphael Assuncao, defeat the dangerous John Lineker and set up a title shot against former friend and now enemy Cody Garbrandt.
At UFC 217 Dillashaw would regain his title with a highlight reel K.O of Garbrandt.
Let’s hope the MMA community get to see these two run this back…………