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Fightin’ Words: Breakdown of UFC 227: Dillashaw vs Garbrandt 2

By Kevin Wallace Aug 2, 2018 - 7:21 AM print

Coming off two absolutely stacked UFC pay per view cards in the months of June and July, the UFC returns this Saturday for UFC 227, which despite not having the depth the previous two cards have had, still features two title fight rematches as well as some intriguing match ups on the undercard. With that being said, let’s take a closer look at what’s set to go down this weekend from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

UFC Bantamweight Championship: TJ Dillashaw (15-3) vs Cody “No Love” Garbrandt (11-1)- There are few rivalries as heated as that of Team Alpha Male and Dillashaw’s coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig and that rivalry hit its peak in November last year when UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt defended his championship against former champion TJ Dillashaw in a fight that saw Cody drop and nearly finish Dillashaw in the first round only to get knocked out by Dillashaw in the second round handing Dillashaw his second reign as champion. Both men are quick and rely heavily on their movement and generally put on fan friendly fights however unlike the majority of smaller weight fighters, both of these guys are capable of finishing fights as Garbrandt has nine of his 11 victories coming via stoppage to strikes while Dillashaw has finishes in ten of his 15 victories. The first time these two former teammates squared off both men enjoyed their fair share of success with Dillashaw ultimately landing the final blow but not without getting rocked himself by Cody. I don’t feel particularly confident in either man at the moment as the first time these two fought it was a pretty evenly contested fight however, ever since Duane Ludwig began training Dillashaw, Dillashaw has been far more composed in his fights looking to take fewer risks then early in his career while Garbrandt tends to rely more on swarming his opponents and forcing them into a brawl. During the first fight both men experienced both scenarios when Cody lured Dillashaw into a sloppy exchange late in the first round which saw him drop and nearly finish Dillashaw only for the bell to ring symbolizing the end of the first round. With some sound advice from coach Duane Ludwig in between rounds, Dillashaw came out more disciplined and was able to drop Garbrandt with a big overhand right and finish him with a flurry on the mat. One of the things I find puzzling in the way Cody fights is that he has confidence in his hands and ability to drop someone but doesn’t tend to follow that up with anything once he’s hurt his opponent instead choosing to gesture to his opponent to return to their feet which is something he did against Dillashaw and in the fight prior to that with Dominick Cruz. As much as this type of gesturing may make you look “Boss”, it’s also incredibly dumb because you should always look to finish the fight and if you drop your opponent and have him vulnerable then going in for the kill seems like the logical choice as opposed to standing there and taunting him. Ultimately I see this being a big factor in what led to the loss to Dillashaw in their first encounter and I don’t know if Cody has corrected those mistakes. I think Dillashaw walks into this one with even more confidence then the first fight and puts together another masterful gameplan this time picking apart Cody over five rounds to pick up another victory over his former teammate in a competitive main event.

Prediction: Dillashaw by unanimous decision

UFC Flyweight Championship: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (27-2) vs Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo (12-2)- Since winning the UFC flyweight championship in a tournament to crown the first champion, Demetrious Johnson has dominated every opponent currently riding a 13-0-1 run in his last 14 fights including 11 successful title defenses. With an already small division in terms of the amount of fighters competing at flyweight there are very few contenders who haven’t already lost to Johnson and in this case we have a rematch of a fight from 2016 that saw Johnson knock out Henry Cejudo in less than three minutes. Since then I don’t think anyone without the last name Cejudo has been hoping for a rematch but like I said earlier, the flyweight division doesn’t have all that many fighters. An Olympic gold medalist in 2008 for freestyle wrestling, Cejudo is a much better fighter than his previous meeting with Johnson would indicate but having gone only 2-1 since their first meeting doesn’t exactly convince me that this rematch will go much differently. Cejudo has shown improvements with his hands since the loss to Johnson and packs a mean punch no doubt about it and his wrestling is definitely a problem for even the best wrestlers in the division but none of that presents a threat to Johnson who is an exceptional wrestler with fast hands and movement and those were all problems for Cejudo in their first encounter. I think Cejudo has a better showing for himself this time out then two years ago however I don’t think he’s likely to get his hand raised and see this being successful title defense number 12 for Johnson who likely faces a fresh new contender following this fight against a surging Dustin Ortiz or Sergio Pettis later this year unless of course the UFC decides to match him up with the winner of Dillashaw vs Garbrandt 2 all of which are more interesting match ups then the one we have been given here.

Prediction: Johnson by unanimous decision

Cub Swanson (25-9) vs Renato “Moicano” Carneiro (12-1-1)- This fight may likely steal the show as both of these guys are very fun fighters to watch and regularly have entertaining fights. Number five ranked featherweight Cub Swanson may be entering this fight on a two fight losing skid however he’s only lost to the best the division has seen and is always only a win or two away from a title shot. With a 10-4 record in his last 14 fights, Swanson’s only losses in those fights come against current champion Max Holloway, multiple time title challenger Frank Edgar (twice) and the next featherweight title contender Brian Ortega. Despite the losses, Swanson has victories over some of the best fighters in the division such as Doo Ho Choi, Jeremy Stephens, Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira. With a solid ground game and aggressive striking skills, Swanson only ever losses to the divisions top fighters leaving himself as sort of a gatekeeper. Looking to get a victory over a legend such as Swanson is Renato “Moicano” Carneiro, who enters this fight with a 4-1 record since entering the UFC losing only to Brian Ortega and defeating the likes of Tom Niinimaki, Zubaira Tukhugov, Jeremy Stephens and recently Calvin Kattar. This one is pretty much a “striker vs grappler” fight however neither man is exactly a fish out of whatever in any area and I don’t expect either man to have an ease go finishing the other. If Carneiro can push the pace and keep Swanson in his heels then I could see a path of victory for him however I think Swanson’s submission defense as well as defensive wrestling should see him be able to keep this fight on the feet where I favor his striking over Carneiro’s. Despite a five inch advantage in height and being the younger fighter by five years, I still think this one favours the more experienced veteran in Swanson to end his losing skid and get himself back into title contention.

Prediction: Swanson by unanimous decision

J.J. Aldrich (6-2) vs Polyana “Dama De Ferro” Viana Mota (10-1)- This card sort of falls off the mat here as we get two relative unknown strawweight fighters competing on the main card where they likely would only be due to injuries cancelling several higher profile fights. Not much to say about either girl here as Mota made a name for herself on the Brazilian scene before entering the UFC in February submitting Maia Kahaunaele-Stevenson in the first round giving her the tenth stoppage victory in her last 11 fights. A contestant on TUF 23, Aldrich enters this fight with a lot more experience against a higher level of competition than Mota. Aldrich may not have a record as good as Mota’s but having been in the cage with fighters like Tatiana Suarez, Jamie Moyle and Juliana Lima as well as competing in Invicta against some of the best female fighters in the world has given Aldrich a glimpse into what is required to compete in the highest level. This fight is a tough one to call between a proven mid- level strawweight against a relatively unproven finisher facing the highest level competitor she has faced at this point in her career. I think all the time spent against the level she’s been competing at favors Aldrich to stretch this fight out into deep waters which Mota isn’t experienced at to get herself a late stoppage or one sided unanimous decision victory .

Prediction: Aldrich by unanimous decision

Thiago “Marreta” Santos (17-6) vs Kevin “Trailblazer” Holland (12-3)- Coming off an impressive showing on Dana White’s Contender Series, Holland makes his UFC debut against 13th ranked middleweight Thiago Santos whose stepping into this one off a disappointing knockout loss to David Branch in April, halting a four fight winning streak where he finished all four opponents by knockout. With a 9-5 record inside the octagon, Santos has a lot of experience in the UFC in comparison to the debuting Holland which leaves the match making here a little puzzling. Given that both of these guys are finishers with heavy hands I think the reason behind this fight being put together is to either give the fans a real solid striking matchup that will likely end by knockout or get a high profile victory under the belt of a debuting fighter. I have not seen much footage of Holland in comparison to Santos but I’m leaning towards Santos who although capable of being knocked out can also dish out some heavy artillery and has some deadly body kicks to be too much for the youngster Holland, ending the rookie’s night within the first ten minutes.

Prediction: Santos by knockout


Pedro “The Young Punisher” Munhoz (15-3) vs Brett “The Pikey” Johns (15-1)- Prediction: Munhoz by unanimous decision

Bethe “Pitbull” Correia (10-3-1) vs Irene Aldana (8-4)- Prediction: Aldana by unanimous decision

Montel “Quik” Jackson ( (9-0) vs Ricky Simon (13-1)- Prediction: Simon by unanimous decision

Ricardo Lucas Ramos (11-1) vs Kyung Ho Kang (14-7)- Prediction: Kang by submission

Buren “The Beastmaster” Wuliji (9-4) vs Marlon “Chito” Vera (10-5-1)- Prediction: Vera by unanimous decision

“Dynamite” Danielle Taylor (9-3) vs Weili Zhang (16-1)- Prediction: Taylor by unanimous decision

Sheymon Moraes (9-2) vs Matt “Robo” Sayles (7-1)- Prediction: Moraes by unanimous decision

Jose “Shorty” Torres (8-0) vs Alex “The Decision” Perez (20-4)- Prediction: Torres by unanimous decision

That’s all for this month everyone so enjoy the fights and check back in September for UFC 228: Woodley vs Till.

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