- UFC 227 will feature a pair of rematches between familiar foes
- TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt will fight for the Bantamweight title
- Mighty Mouse will take on Henry Cejudo for the Flyweight title
UFC 227 will be a night of rematches.
Former teammates TJ Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt will fight again for the Bantamweight title, this time with Dillashaw defending the strap. That will make for a blockbuster main event. For the co-main event, Demetrious Johnson faces Henry Cejudo for another lop-sided Flyweight title bout.
TJ Dillashaw (c) vs Cody Garbrandt
Let’s start with the rematch we’re all excited for. Bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw (16-3) and former champ Cody Garbrandt (11-1) meet again for another grudge match. Neither Dillashaw or Garbrandt have fought since they met in November, so let’s start there.
The first fight had a little bit of everything condensed into two rounds. We saw what both fighters had to offer, from Dillashaw’s technical mastery to Garbrandt’s devastating power. The momentum swung back and forth, giving both fighters the chance to close the show.
The first round ended with Garbrandt knocking down Dillashaw with a heavy looping right hand. TJ crumpled to the ground as the bell rang, and he wobbled back to his corner in a daze. Had the round run ten seconds longer, there’s a good chance Garbrandt would have put an end to the fight.
The break allowed Dillashaw to find his bearings and gather his composure, and he was mostly recovered for the second round. He took control of the fight after landing a swift head kick, dropping Garbrandt. Instead of rushing in to capitalize on the damage, Dillashaw was patient and stalked Garbrandt around the octagon. He walked Garbrandt down, waiting for openings and carefully picking his shots. Sure enough, his moment came a minute later when he dropped Garbrandt with a stiff hook and finished him on the ground.
The fight confirmed what we already knew about both fighters. TJ is the more versatile fighter. He’s able to handle himself in any situation and is one of the most technically gifted fighters in the UFC. Garbrandt has a limited toolbox, but he’s got the heaviest hands in the Bantamweight division.
Generally, rematches favor the more adaptable fighter. If that rule holds true, then Dillashaw should make a successful title defense on Saturday. Garbrandt relies heavily on his knockout power but his fight IQ isn’t quite on Dillashaw’s level.
In his younger years, Dillashaw could be goaded into squaring up against his opponents and trading blows. That’s a losing strategy against a knockout artist like Garbrandt. But Dillashaw has developed into a much smarter fighter and it’s unlikely he’ll give Garbrandt such a gift.
There is always the risk that Garbrandt connects with his fight-stopping power. But Dillashaw has a pretty good feel for his opponent’s rhythm and timing. The two fighters trained together for years and now have a fight on record. All that points to another Dillashaw victory.
Pick: TJ Dillashaw (-125)
Demetrious Johnson (c) vs Henry Cejudo
Now for the rematch we could do without. I’m going to keep this short because I don’t think there’s a whole lot to break down. Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1) has already run through the Flyweight division, and now he’s just doing laps. Henry Cejudo (12-2) lost to DJ back in 2016, but he’s once again the No. 1 contender so that warrants another title shot.
The first meeting paints a clear picture of the lopsided match-up. The pair started the fight with a few flashy exchanges, and Cejudo accomplished the rare feat of taking DJ to the ground. But after three entertaining minutes, Johnson landed a hard knee to the body to drop Cejudo. The fight was stopped after a flurry of unanswered strikes. It was another emphatic win for Mighty Mouse.
Cejudo has grown since that night in April, 2016. He’s dramatically improved his striking game, which he showcased against Wilson Reis and Sergio Pettis in 2017, and he now has plenty of experience against top-ten fighters.
Still, Demetrious Johnson is on another level. Picking the champ at -550 will yield a measly payout, but until some new names enter the division, DJ will continue to reign supreme.