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Apr 25th
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Home MMA UFC 173 Headliner: Barao V. Dillashaw
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UFC 173 Headliner: Barao V. Dillashaw


barao-vs-dillashaw-ufc-173This Saturday night, The MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada is the chosen sight for promotional vanguard The Ultimate Fighting Championship's next pay-per-view event.  Customarily, the UFC hosts marathon cards on Memorial Day weekend and this occasion will be no different: the event is stout with multiple-named UFC stalwarts like Robbie Lawler and Dan "Hendo" Henderson taking on tough, perennial MMA contenders in Daniel Cormier and Jake Ellenberger.  The preliminary bouts will be televised on the Fox Sports 1 network prior to switching over to the PPV fights.

The flagship fight of the night is a title tilt between reigning bantamweight boss Renan "The Baron" Barao (34-1) taking on the number four rated contender, T.J. Dillashaw (10-2) in a contest set for five heats.  This bout presents a common issue in the MMA world: the UFC unquestionably has the most talented fighters, but oftentimes there is such a gap in experience and due to limited amount of top tier battlers that the promotional outfit is left with no other choice.

In this case, Dillashaw is a great example of a talented combatant being placed in a situation where victory is unlikely due to his lack of overall experience.  Unfortunately for Dillashaw, he is a victim of circumstances, as Raphael Assuncao was to be the original challenger to Barao's crown but a rib injury did not allow Assuncao to partake in this event.  Furthermore, Weidman v. Machida, the original main event of UFC 173, was pushed back because Weidman needed time to recover from knee surgery. The UFC was not about to miss the Memorial Day weekend PPV opportunity, so Dillashaw was given the nod and is now faced with one hell of a mountain to climb.

Dillashaw is a capable prizefighter who has grown from a one trick pony into a competent technician.  His solid and aggressive wrestling is what got him into the UFC but it is Dillashaw's much improved striking skills that have allowed him to remain at the world level. The contestant of The "Ultimate Fighter 14" has really taken to kicking as of late, displaying a solid variety of leg strikes from all angles.  He has also displayed a strong understanding of transitioning from the vertical game to a ground attack (which is where he thrives).  Dillashaw will need to put it all together come Saturday night but this still may not be enough to take home the title.

"The Baron", a highly skilled floor combatant, is also a strong and lightning-quick striker that is precise and lethal with his kicks.  The Brazilian is also a master of distance and timing as often employs a thudding left jab that does not allow for opponents to setup any kind of consistent attack.  Barao's experience shows up in the fact that the champion does not take any unnecessary risks, often staying in his envelope until he feels that his foe is ready to be taken.  Add in the fact that the Brazilian is clearly the bigger and stronger of the two and taking the champion to the ground is an extremely difficult task; Dillashaw's chances of victory are extremely limited.The fight itself will likely be an intense affair early but, overall, a one-sided one.   Dillashaw will be game but realize early in the first round that he is in over his head.  The Brazilian will take his time and do damage from the outside, forcing Dillashaw to look for takedown opportunities.  This will lead to his end, as Barao will set a trap for Dillashaw and end this fight within two rounds.

Sergio L. Martinez

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