If there was any ever doubt about which division is the best in MMA, tonight’s bantamweight clash between Cory Sandhagen and TJ Dillashaw cemented it with a five-round back-and-forth war that ended up with Dillashaw getting his hand raised in a narrow split-decision victory.
TJ Dillashaw Wins Via Split Decision Over Cory Sandhagen
Dillashaw did not miss a beat in the first round after a two-year layoff. He was explosive in the first round, switching stances and creating angles to win the striking matchup. However, after the end of the round, Dillashaw’s left knee appeared to be severely compromised. Sandhagen also was able to land a vicious straight right that cut Dillashaw to the point referee Herb Dean brought in the ringside physician to assess the damage.
In round two, TJ Dillashaw was very lackadaisical which evened up the fight after Sandhagen out-struck him by double digits. It was the only round of the fight that could be described as extremely one-sided. Sandhagen landed more significant strikes throughout the fight, 128 to 110, but where the judges could have been swayed was Dillashaw’s 8 minutes and 22 seconds of ground and clinch control. All three judges had it scored 29-28 for Dillashaw after three rounds. The fourth and fifth rounds is where the debate and questioning begins.
Controversial decision aside, both of these men showed why they are championship caliber fighters. Dillashaw displayed incredible heart and toughness to overcome what appears to be a torn ligament. Sandhagen showed that he belongs and is as good as any Bantamweight in the world. Sandhagen was visibly upset with the decision and even stated that he felt he did enough to win in his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier. TJ Dillashaw challenged the winner of Petr Yan/Aljamain Sterling title fight, but also stated that if the timelines do not match up, he’d be interested in another top five opponent. You can view all of the UFC Vegas 32 results here.