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UFC 227 fight card primer preview: TJ Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt II

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Rematch is the word of the day at UFC 227 with a pair of world title rematches at the top of the card. In the main event, it’s a Bantamweight title fight between champion T.J. Dillashaw (15-3 MMA; 11-3 UFC) and former champion Cody Garbrandt (11-1 MMA; 6-1 UFC). The UFC rankings have Garbrandt as the division’s #1 contender, with both men ranked in the pound for pound list – Dillashaw at #6, Garbrandt at #14. UFC 227: Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2 airs live from Los Angeles this Saturday night, August 4. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on FX and 6:15 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.

The first match between these two took place at UFC 217 last November, but it had been building for quite some time. The two were former teammates at Team Alpha Male, but when Dillashaw left the camp, serious bad blood was formed. The rivalry intensified when coaching TUF, and culminated in their title fight. TJ won that via 2nd round KO, famously screaming in Garbrandt’s face afterwards in one of the all time great MMA photos. Neither man has fought since.

How do these two stack up?

Dillashaw: 32 years old | 5’6” | 67” reach
Garbrandt: 27 years old | 5’7” | 65” reach

What have these two done recently?

Dillashaw: W – Cody Garbrandt (KO) | W – John Lineker (UD) | W – Raphael Assuncao (UD)
Garbrandt: L – T.J. Dillashaw (KO) | W – Dominick Cruz (UD) | W – Takeya Mizugaki (KO)

How did these two get here?

T.J. Dillashaw’s 2014 Bantamweight title win over Renan Barao remains one of the UFC’s great upsets. He went 2-0 as champ, then lost a close decision to former champion Dominick Cruz. He is now on his second title run. Regaining the belt you lost is not easy – Dillashaw is one of only 7 fighters in the history of the UFC to accomplish this. This run could mean a lot for his legacy, as right now, he feels like the all time #2 Bantamweight behind Cruz. If he puts his rival away again and goes on to have a strong run, it will get hard to deny him that #1 spot. Especially if the much discussed superfight with Demetrious Johnson can come to fruition – keep your eyes on that if TJ wins here.

Cody Garbrandt evolved from one punch KO machine to well-rounded technical striker in his title win over Cruz. So it was quite surprising to see him outboxed and KO’d by Dillashaw, a fighter who traditionally has not shown that kind of one shot KO power. Garbrandt was undefeated heading into that fight. As a fighter who competes with his emotions on his sleeve, it will be very interesting to see how he responds to that loss. Like Dillashaw, this is a major fight for his career.

Why should you care?

Their first fight was great, and both men are fighting for their legacies here. This is a superb title fight, and a real can’t miss event.

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