Former UFC champion T.J. Dillashaw made a spectacular return by picking up a split decision victory over Cory Sandhagen in the main event of UFC On ESPN 27 on Saturday Night 24th July at the UFC Apex Facility in Texas.
Dillashaw (16-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) put up a competitive performance that saw him edge the top contender Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-1 UFC) with scores 48 – 47, 47 – 48, 47 – 48 with two in favor of Dillashaw.
The 35 year old Dillashaw was competing for the first time since losing via TKO to Henry Cejudo. His Ban was due to his meddling with a banned substance EPO, which piped up in his system in the pre-fight test carried out by the Anti Doping Agency.
There was idea display of form from Dillashaw and ring rust wasn’t seen in his game in the opening round. Sandhagen attempted a flying knee, which left him tumbling over Dillashaw, who also tried to slip behind him. Sandhagen attempted an inverse triangle but failed as Dillashaw escaped.
After a very close first round Sandhagen took over the second, connected a flying knee which split Dillashaw’s face and connected regularly with his counter shots. Sandhagen was clearly ahead of the former champion.
Sandhagen took that spirit into the third round but later in the round Dillashaw took over connecting kicks that gradually slowed Sandhagen down, then worked him to the fence and utilised the clinch till the time expired.
The last two rounds were very close as both fighters give their all to the cause. Dillashaw was pretty tactical but Sandhagen continued with his speed outpacing the former champion. Ultimately, Dillashaw got his second round victory and eventually victorious with the nod which takes him back to the win column and upholding his record of never losing consecutive fights in his career.