Now that the dust is settled and prelims are decided, we move on to the main card of the evening featuring the reigning, defending, undisputed bantamweight champion of the world, Renan Barão vs TJ Dillashaw! But first, we have a heavily stacked undercard featuring fan favorite Dan Henderson vs Daniel Cormier, who could earn himself a chance to face the winner of Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. Then we have the man who recently just went to war with Johny Hendricks, Robbie Lawler vs Jake Ellenberger, who is looking to spoil Lawler’s chance at redemption against Hendricks. We also have some fearsome featherweights with Takeya Mizugaki vs Francisco Rivera and lightweights James Krause vs Jamie Varner.
James Krause vs Jamie Varner
First main card fight is underway with Varner seeing if he could get inside Krause’s reach, but misses his strikes. Krause tags Varner with a kick to the face and some punches. Varner’s ankle look badly injured, and goes down and Krause gets control. They get back up but he’s pulling through and goes for the takedown, but Krause ends up in Varner’s halfguard and goes for a guillotine. Now Varner is on top but back on his only foot. It’s taking a toll and he falls. Krause takes advantage and let’s Varner back up. He has to know Varner is hurt. Varner is displaying a ton of heart, but the ankle is broken. Round ends and Varner says he can’t continue.
Official Result: Krause winner in round 1 via TKO (Krause)
Takeya Mizugaki vs Francisco Rivera
Fight kicks off with Rivera tagging Mizugaki hard with a right. Both men are in each other’s face knowing they’re going to score the KO, but Mizugaki lands HUGE left hook and knocks Rivera down and is now working strikes from Rivera’s halfguard. Both men are back on their feet and Mizugaki has Rivera up against the cage, but not much work going on. Now Rivera reverses and takes Mizugaki down and has him up against the cage, but Mizugaki pummels and has Rivera against the cage. They break it up and Mizugaki lands a nice leg kick. Rivera takes Mizugaki down and then a scramble to end the round.
Next round is off with both men exchanging. Rivera feints low and goes high with the head kick. They’re back exchanging with Rivera getting the better of the exchanges. Mizugaki is cut above his right eye. Mizugaki goes for a takedown, but Rivera goes for the guillotine from halfguard, but doesn’t get it. Now Mizugaki is on top landing a few shots and trying to transition and takes Rivera’s back. Mizugaki only has one hook in and won’t even go for the second one. He continues fighting for the choke until the end of the round.
Final round begins with both guys trying to land significant strikes, but not landing anything effective. Mizugaki lands a very well timed kick and punch and drops Rivera and is throwing strikes in Rivera’s guard. Rivera isn’t going for broke despite being down two rounds and showing no signs of panic. Mizugaki is still in Rivera’s guard strking and they get stood up from lack of action for a while. Now they’re throwing with :40 left in the fight. Mizugaki tags Rivera with a right hand and the fight ends with both guys swinging for the fences.
Official Result: Mizugaki winner via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)
Robbie Lawler vs Jake Ellenberger
And this welterweight slugfest begins with both men in the middle of the Bud Light logo in each other’s face feeling each other out. Lawler lands two head kicks and backs Ellenberger. Now a left kick to the body and another head kick! Now Ellenberger circling away from the left leg of Lawler. Every time Ellenberger moves forward Lawler greets him with a fist to the face. Ellenberger hasn’t thrown much significant strikes or get anything going or pressed forward. Everyone is surprised at Ellenberger’s lack of output this round. Ellenberger goes for the body, but Lawler answers with a right to the jaw. Once again, Ellenberger can’t go inside without Lawler dishing out punishment. Lawler throws another left kick to the head to end the round.
Ellenberger starts off landing a right, but Lawler lands another left kick. A little exchange by both fellas, but with Lawler getting the better of the exchange. Lawler misses a shot and pays with Ellenberger taking his back. Lawler breaks it, but eats a head kick thrown by Ellenberger. Ellenberger is showing much more offense than the first round. Lawler is throwing beautiful combos and Ellenberger is getting hurt. He’s in trouble if he keeps taking shots like this. Now Ellenberger gets a takedown and Lawler was LAUGHING and gets up and raining shots down while Ellenberger is in the turtle position. Lawler looks like he’s having a great time. He’s like a kid in a candy store. He’s landing at will, but Ellenberger puts Lawler on his back for a few seconds before he gets back up.
Round ends with Lawler pressing Ellenberger against the cage.
Final round is starting off with a bang! Ellenberger knew he was down and came out guns a blazing, but guys landing good shots, but Ellenberger getting the better. It looks as if Ellenberger hurt his right hand because he’s barely throwing it. Ellenberger knows he has to get the stop, but without the right hand, he’s helpless and Lawler takes advantage by hurting him with the right hand and knees him and gets the finish.
Official Result: Lawler wins in the 3rd round via TKO (knee and punches)
Dan Henderson vs Daniel Cormier
Our co-main event starts with both guys feeling each other out. In typical Hendo fashion, he has that famous right hand loaded up. However, Cormier being the bigger guy takes him down with ease. Took Hendo for a ride. Now Cormier has Hendo on his back, but not doing any damage, just trying to get into a better position. He finally gets into a spot he likes, Hendo’s half guard, and throws strikes and tries to move to mount. Heno is holding on to dear life while Cormier lands hard body shots. Hendo lands an upkick, but doesn’t do much to stop Cormier from getting back into a good position. Hendo finally gets to his feet. Cormier lands a nice front kick to Hendo’s chin.
Round ends with Cormier pressing Hendo up against the cage.
Hendo starts with backing up Cormier and takes a big swing and misses. Hendo stuffs a takedown, but still ends up on his back. Now Cormier is sending punches Hendo’s way. Hendo gets to a turtle position and Cormier is landing HUGE shots. Cormier is straight-up out-wrestling Hendo and dominating Hendo with ground shots. Commentators are shocked that Hendo is getting treated this badly. Beautiful ground-n-pound clinc being displayed by Cormier. The entire round is Cormier beating up Hendo on the ground. Round ends with Hendo on his back taking shots.
Final round starts with two straight head kicks be Cormier. Hendo goes for the low kick he likes to use to set up the H-bomb right hand, but Cormier backs up. Cormier then presses forward and lifts Hendo up and slams him down like a kid wrestling with his little brother. Everyone, including myself, is in complete shock to see Cormier out-wrestling and dominating Hendo. Cormier is making a statement with this performance. He takes Hendo’s back and sinks in the chokes and puts Hendo to sleep for the first time in his career.
Official Result: Cormier wins in the 3rd round via submission (rear naked choke)
TJ Dillashaw vs Renan Barao
Our first round of five begins with a feeling out between the champ and challenger. Dillashaw tries an uppercut but misses. He continues with a stick and move style strategy. Goes for a superman punch, misses, but lands a huge uppercut. Dillashaw looks extremely light on his feet and lands a nice 1-2 combo. Barao lands a straight left and snaps Dillashaw’s head back. Dillashaw is tagging and moving making Barao miss his counters. DILLASHAW LANDS A HUGE RIGHT HAND AND DROPS BARAO! Barao is hurt and Dillashaw is swarming him and sinks in a choke but lets go! Tries again with the choke but lets go and the round ends with a scramble.
Crowd is on its feet for round two. Dillashaw still light on his feet and starting to get overzealous with his combos. Looking for the KO without thinking about future rounds or his energy. Both guys are exchanging with Barao landing a nice left. Dillashaw throws a left kick, but no success. Dillashaw has his hands down giving Barao’s hands and speed no respect. Dillashaw goes for the takedown, but misses and they scramble. They back off and go forward again, but Dillashaw is met with and inside leg kick to the groin. They start back. Dillashaw is going for head kicks, but is finding more success with his feints in straight rights. He knows he’s faster than Barao, but Barao lands a nice combo, but Dillashaw lands a nice body shot. They both have an exchange to end the round.
They start back and they’re exchanging once again. Dillashaw is still displaying his footwork and speed. He keeps going back to the high kick. Barao is starting to look frustrated. Every time he throws one shot, Dillashaw answers with two. He’s making the champ and Dana White’s #1 p4p fighter look average. Barao is landing shots, but it doesn’t look to phase Dillashaw. Dillashaw is constantly changing his stance and direction. Creating angles and landing very crisp shots against the champ. Barao’s back is against the cage and Dillashaw is landing very effective shots. He tries to get the takedown to end the round, but the round ends. Onto the championship rounds!!!
Dillashaw starts with a takedown attempt, but abandons it. Dillashaw lands a nice left head kick after feinting to the right which fascinates Joe Rogan. He lands a tremendous right hook left head kick again. Barao looks way out of his element. Dillashaw lands two straight beautiful straigh left hands. Dillashaw pushed Barao up against the cage. They break up and Dillashaw takes advantage after a Barao slip. He’s on top landing shots, Barao goes for the leg, but Dillashaw spins out on it and punishes him with more ground and pount.
Final round begins with a smiling Dillashaw and a desperate Barao exchanging. Dillashaw throws two right jabs and lands a nice head kick. Dillashaw looks just as fresh as he did in the first round. Barao is now telegraphing shots. NOW DILLASHAW IS SWARMING AND LANDING EVERYTHING! LEFT! RIGHT! HEAD KICK! BARAO IS DOWN AND DILLASHAW IS POUNDING AWAY LIKE A MONKEY OPENING A COCONUT! HERB DEAN CALLS THE FIGHT!
TEAM ALPHA MALE FINALLY HAS THEIR FIRST UFC CHAMPION!
Official Result: Dillashaw is the winner in round 5 via TKO (punches)
And that concludes our round-by-round live update for UFC 173