Expect Dillashaw To Be Crowned The Double Champion
January 18, 2019
The UFC is back. It’s 2019 and officially time for the first UFC event of the calendar year – and what better way to kick off than with a Championship bout between two of the sport’s most exciting stars? T.J Dillashaw will be making a step down in weight class and fighting Henry Cejudo for the Flyweight Championship, as he bids to become just the fourth ever ‘Champ Champ’ in UFC history.
With rumours surfacing that the UFC is looking to scrap the Flyweight division, it could be Dillashaw’s best chance to do so, whilst Cejudo will be aiming to silence all his doubters that disputed his latest victory over Demetrious Johnson. The stakes feel higher than usual here, as this could well be an opportunity for either man to bow out as the division’s last ever champion.
Taking place on January 19th, it will be the first UFC event broadcasted on ESPN+. We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for UFC Fight Night 143 betting odds too! It’s a huge night in the sport, but I’m expecting Dillashaw to leave New York with two belts draped over his shoulders.
Another Double Champion For The History Books?
UFC fans have quickly become accustomed to seeing fighters being crowned two Championship belts. Conor Mcgregor set the trend in 2016, before both Daniel Cormier and Amanda Nunes added their names to the list last year. The term ‘legend’ should never be thrown around in the world of sport, but in this instance, for a fighter to solidify their greatness in two different divisions is surely a worthy enough accolade to be credited this label. Dillashaw now has the chance to cement his name into the history books.
After two emphatic victories over Cody Garbrandt, there is no worthy Bantamweight fighter out there to challenge the reigning champion. Dillashaw has already established a legacy in the division and is now embarking upon a new adventure in the sport. Despite some fans having distant hopes of the American moving up to challenge Max Holloway, there was still no disappointment about his decision to test Cejudo at 125lbs.
Despite some speculation surrounding as to whether Dillashaw would end up making weight, the Bantamweight Champion delivered just on time. Many fans are speculating the safety of such a drastic weight cut, but the American is as self-assured as ever heading into the bout.
Cejudo Wants Validity
When you envision a fighter ending a ruling Champion’s six-year reign, you’d expect the winner to be showered with plaudits and appreciation. However, in Cejudo’s case, it has been anything but. The Messenger’s victory over Demetrious Johnson saw him crowned the Flyweight Champion, as he ended Mighty Mouse’s incredible winning streak. It was a historic night for the new Champion, but many disputed the result.
That is not to say that fans didn’t admire the world-class wrestling skills of Cejudo, it just wasn’t that convicting a victory. Perhaps many felt that the most dominant Champion in UFC history deserved to go out with a more emphatic loss. Especially considering it was his first since 2011. In truth, the decision could easily have gone either way, with both fighters leaving nothing inside the Octagon.
Cejudo had pinned Johnson down on a few occasions and secured his top position well. The five successful takedowns were seemingly the pivotal factor in the judge’s decision, particularly when considering the time spent on the floor. Regardless of what fans contested, it was the challenger who upset the odds and ended the night as the new champion.
However, as Matt Hughes famously said, ‘You’re not the true champion until you defend.’ Well, Cejudo finally has his belt and now has an opportunity to silence his critics.
Contrasting Mismatch Inside The Octagon
Fans often look forward to this sort of spectacle – a world-class wrestler coming to blows with a fighter who tends to stay on his feet and rely on his striking power.
There’s a reason why many fans wanted a Dillashaw/Holloway matchup, as the American is lethal at picking apart his opponents with his quick punching combinations. It was this skillset that sent Garbrandt tumbling at UFC 217 and 227, with the Viper dispatching the ex-Champion in emphatic fashion. Dillashaw’s stamina is simply relentless and it is a factor why he can continuously laud forward and attack anyone that stands in his way.
Cejudo, notoriously recognised for his grappling technique, will have to pick his moments carefully to prevent Dillashaw from countering his takedown attempts. He was effective in doing so against Johnson, who is a similar fighter to Dillashaw in some respects. The American’s stand-up was impressive during his Championship victory – will he have the same fortunes this time? It’s an intriguing matchup to say the least.
Prediction: Dillashaw Striking Too Much To Handle
Can Cejudo really stop the wrath of ‘Killashaw?’ I don’t think so.
Dillashaw is the heavy favourite in the UFC Fight Night 143 betting odds, and there is a reason why. He has undoubtedly had to cut a shed of weight (perhaps too much in the long run), but his explosive style will be too much for Cejudo to handle. Expect a quick start from the Bantamweight Champion, who should capitalise on his slight reach advantage.
I find it hard to visualise a Cejudo stoppage in this fight, whose best chances look to be via a points stoppage. If it were to go the distance, expect to see some impressive defensive clinching from the Messenger. However, even with this technique, I would still predict a comfortable Dillashaw victory on points. All my eggs are in one basket with this one – Dillashaw to become the third man in UFC history to hold two belts at the same time.
Official prediction: T.J. Dillashaw via TKO in Round 2.
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As an experienced sports writer, Josh has been published across various different platforms, writing about his beloved club Manchester United and other footballing topics. He also covers a range of other sports, specialising in UFC and Formula One.