Dillashaw emerged victorious by cut up choice, doubtlessly setting himself up for a future shot to reclaim a title he by no means misplaced contained in the cage. However ought to his suspension for EPO doping forestall Dillashaw from with the ability to hop proper again to the highest after paying the worth of two years within the prime of his profession?
The primary card was tight all through, with a further majority choice and cut up choice among the many outcomes. Maycee Barber claimed that cut up choice over Miranda Maverick, and it was removed from the clear victory she was after. However was it sufficient to place Barber again heading in the right direction in her profession?
Lastly, on an evening of high prospects, two stood out.
Dillashaw served his time, now it is time for a title shot
Raimondi: Dillashaw cheated. He injected himself with EPO, acquired caught, was stripped of his UFC bantamweight title and was handed a two-year suspension from USADA. Dillashaw admitted he used the prohibited substance, and that he did so with the intention to drop from bantamweight to flyweight.
That challenge is more likely to dangle over Dillashaw’s head throughout his profession. Each opponent will doubtless carry it up. Nobody is saying that it must be forgotten, or that Dillashaw was handled unfairly. He was not. However he additionally served his time. And after his efficiency Saturday, a cut up choice win over Sandhagen, Dillashaw deserves one other shot on the title he by no means misplaced within the Octagon.
Possibly that is an unpopular take. However Dillashaw’s résumé because it stands now could be arguably the perfect out of any bantamweight in MMA historical past. Sandhagen was ranked No. Three within the division by ESPN. The one males above him have been Aljamain Sterling, the champion, and Petr Yan, the following challenger and the previous champ. The mathematics on that claims one factor: Dillashaw put himself in pole place for the winner of that Sterling-Yan title struggle, which is presently being focused for October.
Dillashaw was not good Saturday night time. Sandhagen had many optimistic moments. Some felt he was the rightful winner, together with choose Derek Cleary, who scored the second, fourth and fifth rounds for Sandhagen. However all of the credit score on the earth must be given to Dillashaw, who skilled zero ring rust. He fought by a knee that Sandhagen injured with a leglock try within the first spherical. He fought by a foul, bloody, deep lower Sandhagen opened up within the second spherical. Dillashaw was the brisker, extra energetic fighter late within the struggle.
When Dillashaw was suspended in 2019, he was the perfect bantamweight on the earth. Two years have handed, and his fame has been ceaselessly broken. However the reality is, Dillashaw nonetheless may be capable of stake that declare as the perfect on the earth at 135 kilos. In his subsequent struggle, the polarizing scrapper ought to get the chance to show or disprove that.
As for Sandhagen, he misplaced the struggle, however he is simply 29 years previous and was one or two massive blows away from taking a victory dwelling with him to Colorado. He would not lose a lot inventory right here. The one downside he may face within the quick future is that he has misplaced to Dillashaw and Sterling, taking two of the highest bantamweights on the earth out of play in the meanwhile. A struggle subsequent towards a fellow up-and-comer, akin to Rob Font, might be very attention-grabbing.
Barber will get an emotional victory however not a decisive one
Legaspi: Barber acquired the win she wanted however positively not the one she needed.
Two judges noticed her win the second and third rounds, and that ought to get a whole lot of strain off her again, as a result of she claimed herself to be “The Future” of the 125-pound division, and an 0-Three streak would have been devastating for that fame.
She clearly took the third towards Maverick, however the second was actually shut, and the small crowd on the UFC APEX confirmed shock after listening to the official choice — removed from a theft, however it’s nonetheless a cut up win towards a prospect with much less expertise underneath the UFC banner. That should not be sufficient to get her again into the highest 10 of the flyweight rankings.
Barber did look much more relaxed throughout struggle week and has rather a lot to study in her new camp. The outcomes of that work will likely be seen in her subsequent couple of appearances within the Octagon. She feels she recovered the enjoyment in coaching for a struggle, and we’ll need to see if the assured Barber is again quickly.
Prospects present out
Coppinger: Saturday night time’s motion in Las Vegas featured some brilliant, younger UFC prospects, however Adrian Yanez and Nassourdine Imavov shined brightest.
With a second-round TKO of Randy Costa in a brutal bantamweight conflict, Yanez grew to become the primary man ever to win his first three UFC fights by knockout at 135 kilos and beneath.
The end got here courtesy of a sneaky proper uppercut that floored Costa, earlier than a flurry of strikes on the bottom ended issues. The stoppage was the 27-year-old’s seventh consecutive victory, and now the Texan seems getting ready to a significant alternative.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 24, 2021
However he wasn’t the one one who stood out. Imavov delivered, too, with a second-round TKO of Ian Heinisch, saying his arrival as a fighter to observe at 185 kilos.
Positive, Heinisch entered the Octagon having misplaced three of his previous 4 fights, however all these defeats got here through choice. Two of these setbacks got here towards top-10 mild heavyweights Derek Brunson and Kelvin Gastelum.
So it is particularly spectacular that Imavov was capable of end Heinisch, and with relative ease, too. A knee was the start of the top, earlier than the 25-year-old linked on a plethora of punches alongside the cage, forcing the referee to intervene.
Imavov, who was born in Dagestan and now trains in France, began boxing at age 10, and it confirmed. The punches flowed seamlessly, and the jab was pinpoint correct all through the struggle. Imavov needed to accept a majority-decision loss to Phil Hawes in February, however after Saturday’s win he is as soon as once more one of many hottest prospects within the UFC.
Coaching alongside heavyweight contender Ciryl Gane on the MMA Manufacturing facility in France, Imavov is clearly prepared for an excellent harder check in his subsequent outing within the Octagon.