Top 10 bantamweights T.J. Dillashaw and Raphael Assunção met at UFC Fight Night 29 in Brazil, with the Brazilian taking home a split decision victory.
The two traded strikes in the first round before Dillashaw managed to grab the first takedown of the fight, which also happened to be the first time Assunção has ever been taken down in the UFC. The ground transition proved to be temporary, with Assunção getting back to his feet almost immediately.
Later in the round, Dillashaw managed to stuff a shot from Assunção, using that to take the Brazilian’s back. Dillashaw rode out much of the rest of the round cranking a rear-naked choke that he was unable to finish.
The second round opened with another back-and-forth striking battle. A takedown attempt by Dillashaw landed him in tight-looking over-the-arm guillotine, although bad positioning against the cage made it difficult for Assunção to finish. Dillashaw weathered some stiff strikes to close out the second round with another successful takedown, briefly leading to back control.
The third round played out much the same, with both fighters trading solid strikes and takedown attempts. Huge swinging shots from each of them closed out an incredibly close three rounds.
Two judges scored the bout 29-28 for Raphael Assunção, giving him the split-decision win.
In the post-fight interview, Assunção revealed that his eye began to swell in the second round, but he was able to fight through it. He then pointed out that he’ll most likely face the winner of Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald.
Both fighters came into this bout off of four-fight winning streaks. Assunção, previously ranked at No.5, now advances one step closer to a title shot.