19 Jan Dominick Cruz Reclaims 135-lb Belt In SD Win Over TJ Dillashaw
Dominick Cruz is brilliant as a Fox Sports analyst but he’s still got a lot of fight left in him.
Cruz recaptured the UFC bantamweight title with a split decision victory over TJ Dillashaw at the TD Garden Arena in Boston Sunday night. The oft-injured “Dominator”, as we can remember, had to give up the belt after suffering a series of devastating injuries after a successful defense against Demetrius Johnson in 2011.
Judges had it 48-47, 49-46 for Cruz while one had it 49-46 Dillashaw’s way.
“Honestly, nobody is retiring me except for me,” Cruz said. “I’ve been through too much. The only surprising thing was I had to show something to myself. That’s what this was.”
This was one of those moments where the fight result pales in comparison to the significance of what Cruz was trying to do. He had a mere 61-second showing at UFC 178 when he devastated Takeya Mizugaki but that was it in a span of 1,570 days since the bout with Johnson.
The fact that he was able to hang with Dillashaw, one of the best and most complete fighters in the world today, is colossal in itself, much less beat the guy. The fight could have gone either way and the Elevation Fight Team standout felt he did enough to win but the same can also be said of Cruz, who had the judges’ backing on this one.
FightMetric saw Dillashaw having a slight edge on punches landed, 144-136, but the challenger got three takedowns on the champion, who, in his previous 14 fights, has never surrendered one.
“Very disappointed, man,” Dillashaw said. “I thought I had that fight. I thought I was the aggressor, pushed the pace, scored the bigger shots. That’s the way it is. It’s a tough one to take. I feel like I won that fight.”
Dillashaw and Cruz will surely face each other down the road, whether it’s an immediate rematch or a few more fights to build up a grudge match.
The fight was clearly a tale of two spurts. Cruz’ movement and counterpunching was the determining factor on his early success while Dillashaw’s recent championship experience clearly showed in the later rounds . Two judges, Dave Ginsberg and Tony Weeks, had Cruz winning Rounds 2 and 3 while Sal D’Amato and Ginsberg both gave the championship rounds to Dillashaw.
It was razor thin all throughout that only one round– the second– where all three judges arrived at the same conclusion. The result definitely screams “REMATCH” but then again, the way Dominick Cruz came back from the ash heap to become champion once again is one for the books.
No matter what the results will be in his upcoming fights (or who knows if the dreaded injuries will haunt him once again), this should be the fight that defines The Dominator.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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