Welcome Back, TJ!
The return of the former UFC bantamweight champion T.J Dillashaw in the UFC octagon against rising bantamweight Cory Sandhagen was a successful effort by the BANG Muay Thai fighter. Dillashaw won in a close 5 round battle against the hungry Sandhagen by Split-Decision.
The former bantamweight champion was forced to fight through a nasty cut, Sandhagen’s punches, flying knees, and an injured knee suffered during the fight, which ultimately paid off when the judges’ scorecards were tallied. In the end, two judges gave Dillashaw 48-47 scores, while Sandhagen also received the same 48-47 score from the third official. It was not an easy fight to score by any means, as Dillashaw and Sandhagen put forth a tremendous effort over 25 minutes to earn the victory. While it appeared that Sandhagen was connecting with the significant punches, Dillashaw’s pressure never slowed down as he sought to close the fight strong. And obviously, the judges were paying attention.
A disappointed Sandhagen felt like he did enough to deserve the decision, but he left with a loss on his record. “I knew I made mistakes early. I adjusted,” Sandhagen said. “I didn’t take any serious damage the whole time. I don’t know. I didn’t think he’d be able to take a shot the way he was able to take a shot. I should have done better. I should have won.”
As for Dillashaw, the win puts him right back at the top of the 135-pound division after he relinquished his title back in 2019 after testing positive for a banned substance. His goal remains to reclaim the title. “Daddy’s getting that belt,” Dillashaw said. “Easy money for that belt right now. Title fight. As long as [Petr] Yan and [Aljamain] Sterling get their fight on pretty quick, I want to fight. Otherwise, I’ll take someone else in the top five. I’m here to fight.”
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