T.J. Dillashaw might have thought he was going to fight Renan Barao at UFC 177, but with Barao pulling out of the fight just a matter of hours before the weigh inns on Friday. T.J. Dillashaw had to regroup and get his mind ready for his next challenger in Joe Soto. That is what champions do and that is what T.J. Dillashaw did on Saturday night.
1st RD: Dillashaw stalking Soto early on, and Soto looks to be relaxed. Dillashaw kicks the leg from under Soto making him fall, but Soto right back up. Dillashaw throws a kick, but Soto catches it and takes him down. However, Dillashaw scrambles, get’s Soto’s back and has over, under hooks. Soto scrambles his way to this feet, Soto lands a right hook. Dillashaw tags Soto with a overhand right that he continually is throwing. Dillashaw lands a head kick and Soto answered with a leg kick. Soto kicks the leg from under Dillashaw, they exchange in the pocket to the bell.
2nd RD: Dillashaw is throwing shots, but Soto is growing confidence and is making some serious headway in his boxing. Dillashaw is working leg kicks, while Soto just keeps coming forward. Dillashaw is starting to open up his strikes, more combos. Neither fighter does much damage in this round, but is a very close fight.
3rd RD: Dillashaw just lights up Soto with a flurry of strikes. Dillashaw is just going after Soto and now Soto is starting to slow down as Dillashaw just fires away. Soto works the body and legs of the champion, just trying to find a way in. Soto tries to shoot in, but Dillashaw easily stuffs it. Dillashaw gets a takedown that leads to him trying to get the back of Soto, but Soto slips out and back to his feet.
4th RD: Dillashaw tries to throw a high kick, but just barely misses. While Soto is still in this fight, Dillashaw is slowly starting to pull away and it is showing. Soto works the body of the champion. The championship rounds appear to be getting to Soto as he starts to breathe through his mouth. While the two fighters are standing and exchanging, there is not a ton of damaging being delivered due to smooth striking and tight defense. Dillashaw shoots in on a double leg, get’s into guard while on top and tries to land some strikes. Soto get’s to his feet and we are going to the fifth round.
5th RD: Final round, Soto get’s an early takedown to kick off the fight. However, Dillashaw pops right back up and we go back to striking. Dillashaw lands a head kick that stuns Soto and then hits a big overhand right to drop Soto. This one is over. The crowd goes nuts and a nice ending to this one.
Result: TJ Dillashaw def. Joe Soto by KO at 2:20, R5