-Joe Soto vs. TJ Dillashaw
Round 1: Soto is of course tentative as hell – wouldn’t you be if you’d been slated for a prelim fight and were suddenly fighting in the main event instead? Said tentativeness has Dillashaw on his back hunting for a choke after just a minute has passed, but because Soto is experienced, he weathers the storm and spends the rest of the round gaining confidence on the feet. The round ends with Soto actually acquitting himself pretty well courtesy of some badass head-movement and a counter-right.
Round 2: Soto’s output decreases significantly as fatigue sets in, which enables the champ to throw an exponentially greater number of punches. Yet the challenger’s defense is impeccable, and every now and then his he lands a set of knuckles to Dillashaw’s face that reminds us he’s still viable. Dillashaw takes the round by a longshot, but damn is Soto still in it.
Round 3: Dillashaw’s barrage is never-ending, and Soto’s offensive retort is minimal. Still, the occasional right hand from the challenger finds an opening and the champ’s head gets knocked back. In terms of dominance, it’s all Dillashaw, and that fact is punctuated by a successful takedown he scores.
Round 4: The champ slows a bit, and in reply, the challenger turns up the pressure. For his part, Dillashaw keeps throwing tons of leather, but much of it is blocked, so he goes for – and gets – another takedown. The round ends with them on the feet.
Round 5: Soto goes for a takedown that Dillashaw easily stuffs, and after much dancing and trying to catch their respective breaths, the champ nails him with a sweet head-kick. Soto wobbles, and Dillashaw finishes him with a left hand. All hail the champ, and mucho credit to the challenger for putting up a heck of a fight.
Result: TJ Dillashaw def. Joe Soto via KO (Kick) at 2:20, R5