TJ Dillashaw picked up his first victory since 2018 in his return to mixed martial arts over former training partner and no. 2 ranked contender Cory Sandhagen in the main event of UFC Vegas 32.
The first round started off quickly. Both former training partners immediately engaged, with Sandhagen and Dillashaw trading shots. The fight went to the ground several times, with frequent transitions and Dillashaw capitalizing on positions when the fight went back to the feet. With his control and grappling, it appeared Dillashaw took the first round.
Round two was much more striking oriented. Sandhagen noticeably wobbled Dillashaw, which drew the attention of everybody watching the fight, including the commentators. From there on, Sandhagen poured on his striking output. ‘The Sandman’ opened up a nasty cut over Dillashaw’s right eye. Dillashaw then resorted to clinch control for the remaining part of the second round, which was a very successful technique for him in the first. It seemed as if Sandhagen snagged round two.
Dillashaw started the third round by landing some big strikes before going back to the well, pushing Sandhagen up against the cage and maintaining clinch control, but Sandhagen eventually escaped the clinch. Sandhagen threw a spinning kick that Dillashaw capitalized on, securing a takedown, but Sandhagen got back to his feet in a steadfast manner. Dillashaw was successful throughout the round with nasty leg kicks and closed out the round with some big shots, but Sandhagen punctuated the third round with a big right hand. While the first two rounds were relatively easy to call, this one was a bit of a toss up.
The fourth round kicked off with Dillashaw piling on leg kicks that he was successful with in the prior round, and again went back to the game plan of pinning Sandhagen against the cage with his clinchwork. From there on, Dillashaw continued to try and implement that same gameplan, but Sandhagen’s striking output was unfazed, narrowly outstriking the former bantamweight champion. Depending on the judges’ call, it could have been 2-2 going into the fifth.
The fifth round started off with pure striking, with the two trading combinations before Dillashaw secured Sandhagen’s back in the clinch. The round evolved back into a striking game, with Sandhagen and Dillashaw trading heavy shots in attempts to take a round that could prove to be extremely decisive for the totality of the fight.
The final scorecards were split, with TJ Dillashaw getting the winning nod from the judges.
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UFC Vegas 32 results: Raulian Paiva gets decision victory over Kyler Phillips in co-main event
No. 12 ranked flyweight Raulian Paiva was successful in his return to bantamweight, as the Team Alpha Male product defeated no. 14 ranked bantamweight Kyler Phillips in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 32.
The first round was all Phillips. He dropped Paiva and landed a substantial amount of strikes to decisively take the first round.
There was a significant shift in momentum in the second round, though. Paiva turned the tide and outstruck Phillips 20-14 and mixed in his wrestling game well.
Paiva capitalized on his successful second round, following up with the same game plan and methodology in the third round to again outstrike Phillips 20-14.
With this victory, Paiva is now on a three-fight winning streak and is now likely to debut in the top 15 of the UFC bantamweight rankings when they are released on Monday.