Dominick Cruz capped off the biggest comeback story of all time in the UFC tonight when he regained the bantamweight title with a split decision victory over TJ Dillashaw despite only having fought once in the past four and a half years due to injuries.
The main event bantamweight title fight is underway. Dillashaw immediately out with a hight kick attempt.
Dillashaw with a body kick and Cruz briefly takes him down. Back upright Dillashaw has the center of the cage. He presses forward and lands a body kick which Cruz almost catches again.
Cruz with a body punch. Dillashaw coming forward, but Cruz catches him with several punches as he moves backwards. Dillashaw misses with a few punches as Cruz utilizes his movement. Body punch for Cruz.
Kick for Dillashaw, but Cruz takes him down. Dillashaw back on his feet again. Dillashaw tries for a takedown, but doesn’t get it.
Exchange in close and Cruz lands a nice left hand. Dillashaw clips him with a right hand. Dillashaw tries for a head kick but doesn’t quite land.
Dillashaw misses with a punch and Cruz lands a counter. Body kick from Dillashaw. Cruz with a surging flurry of punches.
Dillashaw with a nice right hand. Dillashaw lands to the body, but each time he does so Cruz is close to catching his leg.
Another body kick from Dillashaw and this time Cruz does get enough of his leg to attempt a takedown, but it doesn’t quite pay off.
Dillashaw trying for a takedown against the cage now, but he has to settle for the clinch as the round comes to a close.
Both men miss with kicks. Leg kick lands for Dillashaw, Cruz with a couple of light punches on the counter. Right hook lands for Cruz.
Dillashaw working from the center of the cage for the most part as Cruz works off the back foot, throwing punches even as he’s moving backwards. Dillashaw missing with a few punches due to that tricky movement from the former champ.
Dillashaw falls on a head kick attempt. Cruz quickly in with a punch then back out. Dillashaw trying for the head kick attempt again. Again he tries it and that was the closest one yet, but Cruz still blocked it.
Dillashaw lands a couple of leg kicks. Head kick attempt from Cruz this time that’s blocked. He lands a nice punch. High kick lands for Dillashaw, but not too hard and Cruz is fine.
Left hand for Cruz. Right for Dillashaw. Dillashw thinks about a takedown, but doesn’t fully commit to it. Dillashaw darts forward, but Cruz times a good takedown. Dillashaw back up, but Cruz brings him back down again. He can’t keep Dillashaw down though.
Dillashaw misses with a head kick. Cruz with a one-two, Dillashaw with a single strike. Dillashaw missing with a front kick and punches as the round ends.
Body kick for Dillashaw up high. Couple of right hands get through for the champion during a flurry. He’s starting to pressure Cruz more already in this round. Goes upstairs with the kick, but nothing really on it.
Dillashaw with another short flurry, but Cruz movement keeps him out of danger. Leg kick from Dillashaw. Another one. Cruz with a right, Dillashaw lands one of his own and almost catches a kick.
Left hand lands lightly for Cruz, just touching his face. Another one lands a little harder. Dillashaw coming up short with a few strikes, then a glancing kick.
left hand lands to the mouth from Dillashaw. Hook for Cruz. Right hook for Cruz, but Dillashaw heavier with one of his own.
Exchange in close, Dillashaw lands an uppercut in there. Left and a right for Cruz in close, then uses good head movement to avoid Dillashaw’s offense. Dillashaw does land with a couple of leg kicks.
Kick from Dillashaw and Cruz uses it to get a takedown. Cruz trying to set up a choke, but Dillashaw scrambles and gets up.
Nice straight left for Dillashaw. Another left and now a kick. Now it’s Cruz who misses with a couple of punches. Body kick for Cruz. He’s up against the cage though and Dillashaw looks to land, but with his back to the fence Cruz tags him with a nice flurry of punches then moves away.
Cruz clips Dillashaw with a punch just as the round is coming to an end.
Cruz with a body punch then moves away. Dillashaw misses with a few punches – Cruz is as elusive as ever despite having so little cage time in recent years.
Dillashaw does land an uppercut and a kick though. Dillashaw comes forward with a series of left and rights. Right hand for Dillashaw.
Leg kick for Dillashaw, left hand for Cruz. Hard leg kick from Dillashaw. Cruz immediately darts forward and lands a takedown. Cruz gets up to his feet though.
Cruz with a right hand. Exchange in close and Dillashaw connects with a nice hook in there. Cruz with a sneaky jab. Both men missing punches in close again. Cruz with a leg kick and Dillashaw takes him down this time. Dillashaw trying to take his back and work for a choke, but Cruz scrambles and stands.
Dillashaw stays on him against the cage, landing knees to the back of his opponent’s leg. Cruz backs away as a punch lands from Dillashaw.
Dillashaw has a cut to his left eye. He tries for a head kick and misses, slipping in the process. Left hand from Dillashaw and a couple of quick punches in return from Cruz. Cruz in on a takedown, but Dillashaw defends it well this time. Dillashaw wading in as the round comes to a close.
Final round and the fight is still there to be won. Dillashaw with a high kick to start. leg kick for Dillashaw. Another one. Cruz feeling out the jab. Body punch for Cruz. Body kick from Dillashaw.
Right hand lands for Dillashaw. Big head kick for Dillashaw, but Cruz is ok. Nice left hand for Cruz now. Body kick from the champion.
Another body kick for Dillashaw. Goes for it again and Cruz almost catches it this time. Spinning backfist attempt from Cruz, but it only glances of Dillashaw’s gloves.
Cruz lands with a left hand. Left head kick attempt from Cruz and a few punches behind it. Head kick from Dillashaw now as he presses Cruz back towards the cage.
Cruz’s movement has noticeably faded in this round, perhaps as a result of the leg kicks from Dillashaw taking their toll. Nice combination from Cruz though just after that.
Left and a right get through for Cruz. Cruz tries for a takedown, but Dillashaw stuffs it. Flying knee attmept from Cruz which doesn’t pay off, but he lands with a glancing right hand on the way back down. Combination from Dillashaw. They trade punches as the round and indeed the fight comes to an end.
Good, close fight here between two high-level competitors. Cruz is hobbling around as we await a decision, hopefully he’s not picked up yet another serious leg injury.
The result is in, and it’s a historic moment as against all odds Dominick Cruz has come back from a horrendous series of injuries to re-take the title by split decision ((48-47, 46-49, 49-46).
What a remarkable moment for Cruz who’s only fought once in the past four and half years due to career threatening knee injuries. Despite that he still looked like his old self and was as elusive as ever with his movement and footwork against an extremely tough opponent in Dillashaw.