TJ Dillashaw and Cory Sandhagen fought tooth-and-nail for 25 minutes of high-level MMA in the main event of UFC On ESPN 27 tonight, and ultimately it was the former bantamweight champion who just managed to edge out a split decision verdict in his favor.
The main event is underway in Las Vegas.
Dillashaw takes the center of the Octagon to start. Inside leg kick for Sandhagen. Body kick for Dillashaw.
two punches for Dillashaw and then a counter punch from Sandhagen in response.
Big knee from Sandhagen and then scrambles looking for an inverted triangle choke. Good work from him, but Dillashaw is able to escape and get on top.
Sandhagen stands against the cage, but Dillashaw clinches his back. Dillashaw lands knees to the back of the thigh.
Sandhagen able to turn and then escape.
Sandhagen looking for a kick. Dillashaw working for a takedown, but Sandhagen rolls out of it.
Dillashaw connects cleanly with a punch and Sandhagen responds with a body punch and left hand.
Nice right hand for Sandhagen. Leg kick for Sandhagen, but Dillashaw lands a punch and then clinches up again against the cage.
Another takedown attempt from Dillashaw and another attempt to roll out of it from Sandhagen. Dillashaw able to stop him from getting back up this time though.
Sandhagen working on a potential leg lock here and trying to land from his back. Then Dillashaw gets to a better spot and starts to land several solid ground and pound blows, but Sandhagen still cranks on his leg and that causes him to stop his own offense towards the end of the round.
Dillashaw looked like he was limping a bit as he walked back to his corner.
Punch for Dillashaw to set up a potential takedown against the cage. Sandhagen able to break free. Dillashaw with a kick, but Sandhagen caught that.
Body punch from Sandhagen. Nice jabs from Dillashaw. Now a big one-two for Sandhagen. Another jab for him as he circles.
Leg kick for Dillashaw. left hand gets through for him. leg kick for Dillashaw. Good uppercut from Sandhagen.
Sandhagen feels out with the jab and then blasts him with a big left. A hook now and Dillashaw goes down. Back on the feet now and Dillashaw has a bad cut here to the eyebrow that forces a brief stoppage from the ref to have it checked. Thankfully he’s allowed to continue but that doesn’t look too good.
Dillashaw with a leg kick and then looking for punches upstairs. Well timed jumping knee from Sandhagen lands to the head.
Now a flurry from Sandhagen. Dillashaw having to brush the blood away from his eye. Head kick attempt from Sandhagen. Now a hook attempt and Dillashaw responds by driving back into the clinch against the cage.
Dillashaw works to the back and tries to drag Sandhagen down, but doesn’t quite get him fully down. Back against the cage again and Sandhagen continues to defend the takedown. Big elbow from Dillashaw just before the bell.
Left hand for Dillashaw. Now a punch that landed almost to the back of the head after Sandhagen missed a punch of his own.
Jab for Sandhagen. A front kick to the body from Dillashaw and a push kick in return from Sandhagen. Dillashaw works back into the clinch against the cage.
Dillashaw works around to the back again and again struggles to drag Sandhagen to the mat. he lands a few knees to the back of the thigh. Sandhagen turns into him and then gets free. He lands a couple of straights down the pipe.
Dillashaw misses and Sandhagen lands a counter. Hook for Dillashaw. Leg kick for him. And another on the other side.
Big right hand for Sandhagen. Leg kick for Dillashaw and then another. Right hand for Sandhagen. He goes for a spinning head kick that misses and Dillashaw uses that to get a takedown.
Sandhagen on his back and still throwing a couple of hammerfists then is able to get back upright. Dillashaw trying to stay in the clinch but unable to.
Inside leg kick for Dillashaw and then doubles up on it. Right hand gets through for Sandhagen. Calf kick for Dillashaw. Sandhagen lands a leg kick too. Another kick to the leg from Dillashaw and then fires off hook attempts as he drives into the clinch.
Sandhagen moves away and then attempts to work a takedown of his own, but Dillashaw stuffs that and then clinches him back up against the cage.
Dillashaw has his back, but not able to get the takedown, so he starts landing an elbow and a few punches instead, only to get caught by a big one from Sandhagen just as the horn is sounding.
Leg kick for Dillashaw. He lands another. He throws punches to set up the leg kick yet again. Aggressive start to this round from him.
Another leg kick and then again, plus one to the inside of the leg for good measure. Superman punch. Sandhagen looking to strike too, but Dillashaw times a clinch opportunity and instantly works to the back again.
Knees to the thigh from Dillashaw. Sandhagen gets away and Dillashaw goes right back to the leg kick.
Sandhagen feeling out with straight punches. He lands a nice left hand. Kick to the thigh from Dillashaw.
Leg kick for Dillashaw. Exchange of punches, but both miss. Body punch from Sandhagen. Now a left hook. Body punch again, but Dillashaw clinches up and has the back again against the cage.
Sandhagen breaks free again. he lands a grazing right hand. Jab for Sandhagen and then Dillashaw clinches in the same way as he has done multiple times in the fight so far.
More knees to the back of the thighs from Dillashaw. Sandhagen escapes. Sandhagen feeling out with punches. Dillashaw darts forward, but misses his punches. He lands a leg kick.
Spinning backfist from Sandhagen lands clean, but Dillashaw eats it and shrugs his shoulders.
Leg kick for Dillashaw and then another. Good right hand from Sandhagen. Body kick for Dillashaw.
Thigh kick from Dillashaw. jab for Sandhagen as Dillashaw was coming forward. Body kick from Dillashaw. Solid jab for Sandhagen.
Inside leg kick from Dillashaw and then a grazing punch. left hook from Sandhagen, takedown attempt from Dillashaw and sticks it just for a split second.
Back to striking range from the clinch. Dillashaw clinches yet again against the cage. Sandhagen quickly out of that one and lands a good body punch.
Leg kick for Dillashaw. Dillashaw lands to the body. Jab for Sandhagen. Good left from Sandhagen.
Right hand gets through for Dillashaw. Right hand for Dillashaw, but crisper counter lands for Sandhagen.
Another right hand from Sandhagen. Dillashaw drives him into the cage. Sandhagen gets out. Dillashaw lands a couple of straight punches.
jab from Sandhagen on the back foot. He touches his chin with a left hand. Dillashaw attempts a takedown, but then just opts to go back to the clinch.
Sandhagen circles away. Dillashaw with a leg kick. Right hook for Dillashaw. Body shot for Sandhagen. CLipping left hook for Dillashaw.
A couple more punches land for Dillashaw. He’s staying busy, but Sandhagen is still a sniper and lands a punch before the end of the fight.
Great fight here that was highly competitive at a fearsome tempo from start to finish.
As such it’s an extremely tricky bout to judge, and in the end it goes to a split decision verdict, and it’s TJ Dillashaw who emerges with his hand raised as the winner! (48-47 x2, 47-48).