From the brink to the bank!
TJ Dillashaw was wobbly and rocked at the end of the first round of his UFC bantamweight championship match against previously undefeated titlist Cody Garbrandt, but in the middle of the second stanza, he fought his way to a knockout win in the co-main event of UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden in New York City Saturday night.
While avoiding a right-handed punch, Dillashaw hit Garbrandt with a right hand to the jaw that sent the defending champion to his back. With Garbrandt on the canvas, Dillashaw followed up with several right-handed strikes that could not be answered, which forced the referee’s stoppage at the 2:23 mark of the second round.
Once a stop was called to the bout, Dillashaw got in the face of and taunted Garbrandt before celebrating the victory with his team.
The finish to the fight was in stark contrast to the action at the end of the first round.
With Dillashaw in pursuit, Garbrandt slipped a right hand through the defense and knocked down the challenger. Garbrandt followed up with a pair of right hands, but the round came to a close and Dillashaw wobbled his way back to a standing position before heading to his corner.
Following the late-round exchange, Garbrandt tossed an obscene gesture toward Dillashaw.
A native of Uhrichsville, Ohio, Garbrandt was previously unbeaten in 11 professional mixed martial arts bouts, but was defeated by his former Team Alpha Male training partner in what was his first defense of the UFC bantamweight crown after he won the belt via decision over long-tenured champion Dominick Cruz last December.
Dillashaw improved to 16-3-0 in his MMA career and earned his second UFC bantamweight championship reign with the knockout of Garbrandt.