Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling earned a second round TKO victory over TJ Dillashaw today at UFC 280, though some of the shine was taken off the win due to the challenger having come in with a shoulder injury that led to a dislocation early in the opening round.
The bantamweight co-main event is underway in Abu Dhabi.
Nice jab for Dillashaw to start. He lands a leg kick too. Body kick for Sterling. He misses on a head kick attempt. Inside leg kick for Dillashaw.
Another kick from Dillashaw, but Sterling catches it and takes him down. Dillashaw looking to scramble but Sterling does well to ride that and stay on top.
Dillashaw seems to be in pain and this fight might not last long, but it’s not clear what’s hurt him. The fight goes on for now.
Sterling isolating an arm. Now he opts to land ground and pound and there’s big punches landing here. Dillashaw not defending too effectively which adds further evidence to the fact that he’s been injured by something.
Somehow Dillashaw survives eating these big punches, but now Sterling is working around to his back and thinking about locking in a choke.
Dillashaw fighting hard to survive here and does well to do so for now. He almost breaks free, but Sterling’s got excellent control on the mat and secures his back again. Body lock for Sterling is in and he landing some solid punches here too.
Dillashaw tries to scramble to his feet and is unable to do so, but tries again and does manage to get back to striking range at last.
Now we know what’s wrong with Dillashaw – his shoulder is out, but he’s still fighting on. Sterling looking for strikes, but then lands another takedown. he remains on top for the remaining seconds of the round.
Dillashaw’s corner managed to pop his should back in during the break inbetween rounds so he’s able to continue on for another round.
Sterling targets that should with a kick. It’s clear that Dillashaw is still essentially fighting one-handed. He does land a punch, but then gets taken down.
Sterling in half-guard. This feels like a momumental task for Dillashaw now to get something from this fight given that he’s so compromised.
Sterling remaining patient though. He gets to half-guard and lands a big elbow. Dillashaw gets to his knees and stands with Sterling sinking in a d’arce choke attempt.
Dillashaw able to escape and stands. Sterling soon brings him down again on the other side of the Octagon.
He’s in half-guard now and then moves to full mount. Dillashaw giving up his back and eats some nasty elbows and now big punches follow as Dillashaw is flattened out. A few more blows land and that’s it, the ref has seen enough and Sterling wins by TKO at 3.44mins of the second round!
So Sterling successfully defends his title, though it wasn’t ideal circumstances as it’s confirmed afterwards that Dillashaw’s shoulder had been popping in and out even before the fight began.
In his post-fight interview Dillashaw says he actually injured his shoulder as far back as April and estimates it dislocated 20 times during his training camp. By the sounds of things he should never have taken this fight in this state, but he didn’t want to miss out on his title opportunity.