At UFC 173, T.J. Dillashaw did the unexpected by not only defeating Renan Barao, but also stopping him via TKO in the fifth round to win the UFC bantamweight title. Now the two will meet again at UFC 177 on August 30, 2014 at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, CA, and fans everyone will to see if lighting strikes twice.

Heading into their first bout, Barao wasn’t just the bantamweight champion;  he was being regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Before Dillashaw, Barao hadn’t tasted defeat since his pro MMA debut in April of 2005. Now, Barao will be looking to show the world that his UFC 173 performance was a fluke and win his title back.

When Dillashaw was originally scheduled for UFC 173, he was to face Takeya Mizugaki. After several injuries— and a lot of shuffling—he was granted a title shot against Barao, even though he was only one fight removed from a loss. Dillashaw came in as a huge underdog and brought the fight to Barao. eventually stopping him in the fifth after a head kick and a flurry of punches.

Who will win? Let’s break it down.

Striking

Dillashaw’s transformation under coach Duane Ludwig has been simply amazing; his ability to pick up Ludwig’s striking system is uncanny. But as great as Dillashaw looked at UFC 173, I believe that Barao still has a slight edge in the striking game. What Dillashaw did was incredible and eye opening, but Barao has shown he is an elite striker on more than one occasion.

Advantage – Barao by a thin margin

Wrestling

Barao has great takedown defense and has solid functional MMA wrestling, but Dillashaw is a beast. While he is not the best wrester in the UFC—or even his division for that matter—Dillashaw is a much better wrestler than Barao, and his wrestling game could be a difference maker in this rematch.

Advantage – Dillashaw

Submissions

All of the fighters at Team Alpha Male have solid submission games—especially with chokes—but Barao is a BJJ black belt. Not just any black belt either; as he is an Andre Pederneiras black belt. When you hear Joe Rogan say, “Not all black belts are created equal,” he is absolutely right because Barao is a killer on the ground.

Advantage – Barao

Cardio

Both of these fighters have incredible cardio so I doubt it will be a factor in this bout, but you never know. If Dillashaw can impose his will on Barao like he did at UFC 173, he has a chance to break him again. However, I expect Barao to come into this fight better and more motivated than we have ever seen.

Advantage – Even

Prediction

There is no question that Barao is a great fighter, but at the end of the day I just think that Dillashaw and his coach have his number. I think this bout is going to be even better than their first meeting and I think Barao is going to put Dillashaw into some bad situations. When it is all said and done, Dillashaw will once again have his hand raised in victory.

Prediction – Dillashaw retains his title via unanimous decision

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.