I’ll start with the good news: Tonight’s UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw pay-per-view features two of the UFC’s greatest talents — bantamweight champion Renan Barao and undefeated light-heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier — and seeing those guys in action might be worth the PPV cost in itself. True, Barao and Cormier are both competing in lopsided odds-mismatches that are bordering on indefensible, but why focus on the negative?
In addition to “The Baron” defending his 135-pound title against Team Alpha Male standout TJ Dillashaw, and Cormier looking to earn a title shot with a win over legendary slugger Dan Henderson, tonight’s card will feature a high-level welterweight bout between Robbie Lawler and Jake Ellenberger (who are both coming off losses). Plus, Takeya “Teriyaki” Mizugaki and Francisco Rivera will attempt to build on their win streaks in the bantamweight division, and Jamie Varner kicks off the broadcast against fellow fan-friendly lightweight James Krause.
BG will be sticking round-by-round updates from the UFC 173 main card after the jump beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for the latest updates, and follow us on twitter for extra analysis and yuk-yuks. Thanks for coming.
UFC 173 preliminary card results
- Michael Chiesa def. Francisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision (30-26 x 2, 30-27)
- Tony Ferguson def. Katsunori Kikuno via TKO, 4:06 of round 1
- Chris Holdsworth def. Chico Camus via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
- Mitch Clarke def Al Iaquinta via technical submission (D’arce choke), 0:57 of round 2
- Vinc Pichel def. Anthony Njokuani via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
- Sam Sicilia def. Aaron Phillips via unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27)
- Li Jingliang def. David Michaud via split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Joe Rogan throws his jacket on, signaling the transition from free prelims to fancy pay-per-view broadcast. Wait, did he just call Fedor Emelianenko “the greatest heavyweight ever” during a discussion about Dan Henderson? Does the UFC dock him 20% of his purse for that?
Jamie Varner vs. James Krause
Krause is a full six inches taller than Varner, and has a 3.5″ reach advantage. Varner is showing off his new hipster haircut tonight.
Round 1: Varner jabbing to Krause’s body. Krause using his long legs to tag Varner low. Krause lands a front kick to the face, followed by a pair of sharp punches. Varner falls to the mat after another striking exchange; there might be something wrong with his ankle, which appears swollen. He manages to get to his feet, and bounces around. Varner shoots in for a takedown and gets it, but Krause reverses him and gets on top. Now Varner reverses and lands shots from the top. He tries to take Krause’s back but Krause gets up and out. Krause kicks at Varner’s damaged ankle. He lands again and Varner drops to the mat and turtles. Krause lets him up and continues to attack the leg. Varner keeps swinging; gotta respect the heart of Varner. One more shot and Varner hits the mat again. Krause dives on as the round ends.
And it’s all over. Varner tells his corner that his ankle is broken and they call it off. The replays show that yep, Varner rolled his ankle in multiple disgusting ways. If I find a GIF of it, I’ll pass it along.
James Krause def. Jamie Varner via TKO (injury), 5:00 of round 1.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco Rivera
Round 1: Rivera lands a hard left hook right away. Then a straight right that lands. Rivera slipping punches well and returning fire. Both guys trading heavy shots. Mizugaki rocks Rivera during a striking exchange and Rivera falls to the mat. Mizugaki jumps on and tried to finish but Rivera keeps his wits about him and controls Mizugaki’s body, slowing his attack. Rivera gets to his feet and ends up with his back against the fence. Mizugaki with a knee to the body. Rivera trips Mizugaki to the mat. Mizugaki pops up and they separate. They clinch and move to the fence. Rivera with some knees in close, and a takedown, but Mizugaki escapes and swings wildly at Rivera as the round ends.
Round 2: Rivera opens with a leg kick. Rivera lands a question-mark kick upside Mizugaki’s head. Mizugaki shoots for a takedown and Rivera grabs a guillotine and drops to the mat. Mizugaki waits it out and escapes. Mizugaki lands a big punch from the top, as Rivera is stuck sitting against the fence. Another punch from Mizugaki, who then transitions to Rivera’s back. Mizugaki looking for the rear-naked, but isn’t working too hard for it. Mizugaki softening Rivera up with short punches to the body and head. The round ends.
Round 3: Body kick Rivera. Both guys land in boxing exchanges. Mizugaki doing well with counter punches. Mizugaki floors Rivera with a straight right as Rivera throws a kick, and Mizugaki gets on top. Mizugaki throwing some punches here and there; Rivera seems content to play defense. Joe Rogan wonders if Rivera came into the fight sick or injured; that’s how unimpressive he’s looking. The ref stands ‘em. Both guys swinging for the fences. Rivera eats a hard one. Last 30 seconds. Lots of haymakers, none landing cleanly. Both guys whip their arms around at the air until the last horn ends.
Takeya Mizugaki def. Francisco Rivera via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x 2)
Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger
Ellenberger comes out to Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise.” (Seriously.) Robbie comes out to Weird Al’s “Amish Paradise.” Just kidding, but damn, that would be epic.
Round 1: Lawler lands a hard left head kick to start the fight…and another. Then one to the body. Another high kick. Ellenberger chases and Lawler sticks a left hand while retreating. Lawler throws the high kick again. Lawler lands a knee to the body. Ellenberger whiffs an uppercuts. He comes in with a hook, Lawler fires a high kick. Lawler lands some hard punches as Ellenberger moves in. Body shot from Ellenberger, Lawler fires the high kick, and one more at the horn. 10-9 Robbie.
Round 2: Ellenberger comes in and swings a big right hand, Lawler throws a kick, lands some punches. Lawler with a nice knee against the fence. Lawler stalking forward and stinging Ellenberger with punches. Ellenberger shoots in, grabs Lawler around the waist, and half-lands a head kick as Lawler shakes out. Lawler with a straight left. And another. Lawler battering Ellenberger with power punches. Ellenberger shoots and manages to get a takedown. Lawler smiles and reverses the position, just like that. Lawler firing punches at Ellenberger’s head. Lalwer lands a knee to Ellenberger’s face as Jake gets up. Ellenberger scores another takedown and fires down an elbow, but Lawler easily kicks out and gets up. Front kick and punches from Lawler. They clinch on the fence and the round ends. 10-9 Lawler again.
Round 3: Lawler with a perfectly timed knee as Ellenberger comes in. But then Ellenberger storms forward with a series of power punches that have Lawler on his heels. Lawler scores with a knee and a sharp jab that snaps Ellenberger’s head back. Ellenberger is nursing his right hand, which might have been injured during his barrage of punches. Ellenberger with a body kick. Lawler sticks the jab. Sharp 1-2 from Lawler. Another punch and Ellenberger winces, squints. He might have taken a shot straight to the eye. Lawler blasts in with a knee to Ellenberger’s face, hitting him in the same damn eye, and Ellenberger crumples to the mat. He’s done. Lawler fires punches down until the ref jumps in.
Robbie Lawler def. Jake Ellenberger via TKO, 3:06 of round 3
Dan Henderson vs. Daniel Cormier
Cormier runs out to the cage. He wants this bad.
Round 1: Cormier opens with a left high kick. Hendo returns one to Cormier’s leg. Hendo misses on an overhand right, Cormier grabs him and rag-dolls him to the mat. I mean, it’s scary how easy that was for him. Hendo working on a weird crucifix from the bottom, but DC pulls out of it. Cormier in side control, dropping shots to Henderson’s body. Cormier tries to work to mount, but Henderson defends. He tries again and gets it for a second, but Henderson shrimps out and establishes guard. Henderson tries to kick Cormier off, Cormier dives back on, smothering Henderson on the mat. Henderson looks for a leg lock before escaping. They’re back on their feet. Cormier with a front kick. Henderson almost trips Cormier to the mat. They clinch near the fence and the round ends. 10-9 Cormier.
Round 2: Henderson jabbing, trying to set up that power right hand. He throws it, but doesn’t land. He shoots in, Cormier defends and gets on top. Cormier in side control. He transitions to back mount, Henderson scrambles away. Cormier stays on him, throwing punches to the body, elbows to Hendo’s head. Cormier roughing Hendo up, but not coming close to a stoppage yet. Henderson covering up as Cornier continues to slug him in the head. Cormier with an elbow to the ribs. Cormier beating Hendo up from every position on the ground. He holds on until the horn. The crowd boos it.
Round 3: Cormier throwing out kicks high and low, then basically throws Henderson over his head like a goddamned pro wrestler (GIF PLEASE), and kicks out Hendo’s feet when he tries to get up. Cormier back on top, scoring points with his ground and pound…but not putting Henderson away, and getting booed as a result. Cormier gets bored beating Hendo against the fence, so he pulls him away from the fence and continues to beat him. Cormier sinks his hooks for a rear-naked choke attempt, and puts Henderson face down on the mat. Cormier squeezes, and Henderson goes out before he can tap. My goodness.
Daniel Cormier def. Dan Henderson via submission (rear-naked choke), 3:53 of round 3
Cormier grabs the stick during the post-fight interview and calls out light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, telling the champ he can’t hide from him. (“Hurry up, because I’m getting better.”) Cormier vows to take Jones down over and over again. I’d watch that. Henderson says he might compete at middleweight going forward, which isn’t a bad idea. Retiring wouldn’t be a bad idea either, but I doubt that’s in the cards.
Renan Barao vs. TJ Dillashaw
Dillashaw is a “monkey style fighter,” I guess. Neither fighter has been taken down in their UFC careers.
Round 1: Dillashaw bouncing around in Dominick Cruz-esque fashion. He lands a quick low kick, and a nice counter punch as Barao advances. Dillashaw with a head kick. Barao returns a body kick. Low kick from Dillashaw, and a big uppercut. Dillashaw tags Barao with a left hand as Barao was loading up for a kick. Barao tries a spinning kick and lands hard with a right hand. Nice switch low kick from Dillashaw. Dillashaw ducks under a Barao punch and scores with a pair of punches. Inside leg kick Dillashaw. Barao lands an outside leg kick. Dillashaw lands a punch that FLOORS Barao. Dillashaw swarms and Barao threatens with a leg lock, but Dillashaw shakes out and jumps on Barao’s back, looking for a neck crank. Barao escapes and Dillashaw fires a head kick as the round ends. Wow. That was a 10-9 for Dillashaw (!?), close to a 10-8.
Round 2: Barao keeping Dillashaw at bay with front kicks. Barao lands a punch and a knee. Okay, he’s back in the fight. Dillashaw is cut near his right temple. Dillashaw lands a sharp right, and Barao gives two right back. Barao lands a nice counter as Dillashaw charges in. Dillashaw with a leg kick, and a high kick that’s caught. Good punches from Dillashaw. Barao misses a spinning back kick but lands a follow-up right hand. Dillashaw shoots, and almost gets Barao to the mat, but Barao springs up. Barao kicks Dillashaw directly in the cup, and Dillashaw needs a break. He’s back in after a minute. Dillashaw still throwing with speed and power. He drills Barao with a right straight. They trade kicks. Body kick Dillashaw. Inside leg kick Barao. Barao lands a series of head-punches. Dillashaw digs a hook to the body. Dillashaw fires punches to the head and body as the round ends. Another 10-9 for Dilly.
Round 3: Both guys still keeping a crazy fast pace in round three. Dillashaw dodges a front kick and reappears behind Barao to punish him with punches. They trade low kicks. Barao misses a high kick. Dillashaw with a body kick, but eats a counter punch. Dillashaw lands a punch, a head kick, another punch. Barao is getting bombed on. He fires a body kick, not out of it yet. Another body kick. Dillashaw with a switch kick to the leg, and a burst of punches behind it. Great head kick from Dillashaw. Dillashaw might have been kicked in the balls again, but he slaps fists with Barao and continues fighting. Dillashaw unloads on Barao against the fence. Barao looks shaky on his feet. Oddly, Dillashaw decides to clinch instead of firing more punches, and the round expires. 10-9 Dillashaw.
Round 4: Dillashaw goes for a single-leg right off the bat. He lands his reliable left head kick. Dillashaw attacking with punches and lands a hard body kick. Dillashaw with a nasty left hand and another kick. Barao misses a spinning back kick and Dillashaw makes him pay with counter punches. Barao lands a good punch in a striking exchange, but Dillashaw resets and goes back to his domination on the feet. They clinch against the fence. Barao rolls out, but slips during a firefight and Dillashaw gets on top of him. Barao tries to grab a leg when he gets a chance, but no dice. Elbows from the top from Dillashaw. There’s the horn. It’s 4-0 Dillashaw going into round 5. One more, and he’ll earn one of the most unexpected shutouts in UFC history.
Round 5: Both guys jabbing. Hook to the body from Barao, Dillashaw returns a kick to the body. Barao misses his spinning kick again, and Dillashaw pops him. Sharp leg kick from Dillashaw. More Cruz-esque footwork from TJ, and Barao is baffled. Dillashaw dodges a series of punches like a damn white Anderson Silva. He lands a head kick, follows it up with a storm of punches, and Barao is on his back after eating a point-blank left straight. Dillashaw jumps all over Barao, raining down right hands until the ref jumps in. Absolutely crazy. TJ Dillashaw is the new UFC bantamweight champion, and Renan Barao never had a chance.
TJ Dillashaw def. Renan Barao via TKO, 2:26 of round 5
Joe Rogan calls it the greatest performance he’s ever seen. Without a doubt, we just witnessed something special. Did anybody give TJ a chance here? Dillashaw came out of nowhere and became an elite-level world-beater in a single night. Good for him. He believed in himself even if few others did.