On Friday, January 18, the UFC touched down in Boston, Massachusetts to bring fight fans UFC Fight Night 81 live from the TD Garden.

In the night’s main event, bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw put his 135-pound title on the line against former champion Dominick Cruz

Dillashaw (12-2) was looking to pick up his third straight title defense, and fourth straight win overall. In his most recent contest,  the champ scored with a violent fourth round TKO over former champion Renan Barão in July. Dillashaw previously defeated Barão in their initial meeting UFC 173, walking away his belt in the process.

Cruz (20-1), also the final WEC champion, was last seen being pulled off a helpless Takeya Mizugaki a little over a minute into their UFC 178 contest in September 2014. This marked Cruz’s first appearance inside the Octagon since UFC on Versus 6 in 2011. The Alliance MMA product had suffered a series of debilitating injuries, including a pair ACL tears to both knees, which has kept him out of competition. He was eventually stripped of his belt after tearing his groin in 2014.

MAIN CARD SUMMARY

Ross Pearson vs. Francisco Trinaldo

Fight starts off with the fighters touching gloves, Trinaldo circling the outside while Ross stalks him. First 30 seconds they are still feeling each other out. A lot of faints and jabs are being used by both parties. Ross lands a body kick, Trinaldo returns with one of his own. Ross lands a straight left, keeps his jab active. Trinaldo moves out of the way. Trinaldo gets Octagon control, misses with a hard headkick. Ross regains Octagon control, lands a bodykick, a legkick shortly after.  90 seconds left in the round and and Trinaldo lands a nice knee on Ross’s head, who eats it without troubles it seems.  Trinaldo gets Octagon control, but loses it fast to Ross. Trinaldo throws a headkick that gets blocked. Trinaldo lands a headkick and ends the round with a slam on Ross Person.

Round two,  Trinaldos corner warns him that Ross is coming with the straight right hand. They meet up in in the middle of the cage. Ross keeps the pressure, Trinaldo throws kick with power behind it, it gets blocked by Pearson. They clinch up and Ross gets the takedown from it and lands on top control against the fence. They are back up on their feet.Ross throws spinning heel kick that gets blocked. Trinaldo gets aggressive and forces Ross against the cage. Ross lands a uppercut, with his back against the fence. Trinaldo lands a left elbow. Trinaldo pushes Ross against the cage, but Ross pushes him off. They are back moving around in the middle of the Octagon, exchanging straight jabs. Trinaldo throws a hard kick to the body of Ross who starts moving after him. 30 seconds left of the round and lands a hard Jab on Trinaldos chest/head.Trinaldo lands a knee inside of a clinch before the bell ends the round.

Last round, and the fight is close before we start. Herb warns Trinaldo to keep his hands close. Ross lands a nice highkick. Trinaldo clips Ross with a hard right hand. They are clinched up. Trinaldo looks for a takedown, but Ross defended it and they separate. Ross has a open wound above his left eye. Ross lands a nice body-shot. Ross lands a highkick on the head of Trinaldo who blocks it with his arm, and moves backwards. Trinaldo lands a hard highkick on Ross, who takes Trinaldo down. Ross stands above him for a second, tries to attack and gain position, but Trinaldo works his way back on his feet. Herb tells the fighters to engage. Trinaldo lands a kick on the inside of Ross left leg. Trinaldo shots starts to hit more air than previously in the fight. Flying knee hits Person. Trinaldo ducks under a shot from Pearson who reverse the position gets him to the fence, moves away and lands a hard right hook on the face of Ross. The fight is over.  We are going to the scorecards.

Francisco Trinaldo def Ross Pearson by Unanimous Dec (30-27, 29-28, 30-27) R 3, 5:00

Travis Browne vs. Matt Mitrione

Fights starts off with both men being light on their feet in the middle of the Octagon. Brown throws a kick that misses, Matt tries for a jab, a lot of faints from both men. They kick their legs together. Matt lands a legkick while Brown lands a jab on the face of Matt. Matt lands a left hook on Browne, A lot of power is being used in their attacks. They are in the middle of the octagon, Travis lands a bodykick, Matt keeps blocking the jabs being thrown out there in a matter of fact way from Brown. They seem to be respecting each others power. Travis lands a hard knee to the body of Matt. Brown lands a lot of front kicks on Matt, who has to move back to defend the next one coming up. Matt lands a right hook. There is this feeling of a knockout being in the air for either man. Matt tags Travis who gets back to his feet quick. They are circling the octagon.Matt rushes in with a straight jab, and lands a right kick to the body of Travis. Travis misses with a left hook. both fighters a still light on their feet, Matt gets poked in the eye and the referee put a timeout, to check on Matt. The doctor checks on Matt. The crowd cheers for Matt who gets ready for the fight again for just a few seconds before the round ends.

Round starts, Matt comes out aggressive, Travis pushes back, and Matt lands a legkick. Matt keeps rushing in, lands a good hook on Travis. Matt has got another poke in the eye, but this time the Ref didn’t pause it until Matt tells the Ref he has double-vision. The Doc comes back in, and they replay shows that Travis thumb gets shoved in Matt’s eye. Matt asks for five minutes, so he can get his sight back..  Matt gets back out to fight. Matt talks to Travis and they start throwing down, Travis lands a bodykick and a front kick. Matt throws leaping hooks that misses. Now legkicks that finds home. Running in with hard jabs is Matt. They are in the in the middle of the Octagon, Travis misses with a headkick. Matt eats a knee while he ducks down, and Travis trips Matt and they are on the ground with Travis being in side-control, looking for the kimura. Matt scrambles out of it, and is back on his feet with the help of the cage. Travis lands three front kicks in a row, they clinch up for a split second before they separate. Matt eats a knee to the body when he rushes in. Same happens when Matt tries to rush Travis again.

Last round starts, they touch gloves. Travis keeps his jab active. Matt tries to find his way back in close to Travis but instead lands a legkick on Travis. Travis lands a switch-kick on Matt who looks to land a jab. They are in the middle of the cage when Matt finally lands a hard jab. Travis lands a hard straight right to the face of Matt, who has his eye swollen  now.Travis clinch up with Matt, gets his back, and slams him to the Matt, lands in full mount, lands a hard elbow from the top. They take a breather and now Travis starts firing ground and pound from the dominant position. Matt can’t get him off, he tries to block the shots to his face but elbows keep sneaking in.Travis keeps throwing hands on Matt, and the referee stops the fight.

Travis Browne def. Matt Mitrione by TKO (Strikes on the ground) R 3, 4:09

Eddie Alvarez vs. Anthony Pettis

Round one starts off with them moving around before Eddie lands a legkick, Eddie goes for a takedown, and Pettis has his back against the cage, grabbing Eddies neck while Eddie holds on. Pettis gets back to his feet. The pressure is being kept by Eddie against the fence, and Petties working for under-hooks and pushes Eddies head down. Alvarez is working hard for the takedown, but Pettis defend well, throwing a left hook that barely misses, but Eddie doesn’t let go of him. Pettis lands a knee in the clinch. Pettis gets taken down by a inside trip, but gets immediately back to his feet.Now they are out in the middle of the cage, and now Pettis is the aggressor with kicks. Pettis misses with a wheel-kick and gets taken down. Eddie cant keep Pettis on the ground for more then seconds at the time, and when they stand up, eats a hard body kick from Pettis. Eddie throws a kick, Pettis respond with a kick-punch combo.  Eddie clinches up with Pettis, Pettis gets away and the round is over.

Round two, Pettis throws a headkick that gets blocked, and another one that misses. Eddie lands a right hook, and keeps octagon control.  Lands another short right hook. Pettis is on the outside when Eddie start rushing-in for another takedown attempt, but Pettis keeps it standing against the fence before getting out of the clinch of Eddie. Pettis lands a straight right, gets one in return. Pettis lands a right hook. Eddie tries to be the one who keeps the pressure, but Pettis is coming back with his own pressure and jabs that keeps landing. Pettis tries to Judo-throw Eddie, but Eddie pushed Pettis to the fence. Eddie has one leg. Pettis gets out. Pettis switches stance, lands a front kick to the body of Eddie. Eddies face is bleeding from various places -under eye-cheek- , Pettis is using more boxing now, fewer kicks. Eddie pushes Pettis to the fence just seconds before the round is over.

Round three starts, and they throw a leg kick each. Eddie is the one with the Octagon control and Pettis is on the outside, and now against the fence.  Pettis is out and away. Eddie lands a hard legkick, Pettis eats another hard hook. Eddie bleeds from the nose, eats a couple of hook before level-changing and gets the takedown. Eddie is on-top, grabbing the fence, Ref tells him to stop. They are moved away from the fence, but Eddie moves them back to it. Half of the round is left, and Eddie keeps the control on the ground, but Pettis is up but Eddie is stuck on him like glue, and drags him down to the ground. Pettis is back up on his feet, Eddie keeps the pressure which seems to be a key part of his gameplan, looking for another takedown. Pettis has slowed down a bit, gets taken down again, but works to get back to his feet, but Eddie wont let him.  Now, Pettis is back up and lands left and right punch, and a nice bodykick. Both men looks tired, and the end of the round has come.

Eddie Alvarez def. Anthony Pettis by split Dec (29-28, 28-29,29-28) R 3, 5:00

T.J. Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz – for UFC bantamweight title

The fight begins, Dillashaw meets Cruz in the middle, Cruz has octagon control, Dillashaw and Cruz moves around fast, TJ throws  highkick – blocked. A lot of head-movements are being used by both fighters, Cruz lands a three shot hand combo, TJ goes after Cruz, they go back and forth. TJ misses more than Cruz so far, but lands a highkick, but falls down himself and Cruz goes after him. They get back up, Cruz eats a left hook. Cruz lands a body-shot, TJ goes for a takedown, but it gets defended. They fight is on high speed. A lot of energy is being used here.Cruz lands a great left hand on the face of TJ. Tj has Octagon control, Dominick lands a three shot combo again. Tj lands a right hand to face and body of Cruz. Tj lands a body kick. Cruz ducks under a lot of shot, gives TJ a few punches on the face as revenge. TJ goes for a takedown but fails, the round ends. High energy round.

Second round starts, they attack each other with a lot of faints, kicks and jabs in between. They exchange on each other so much, its hard to catch up to the action. Cruz lands a right hook, Tj has the middle of the Octagon, lands  right hand to the face of Cruz, who lands a body-punch on TJ. Head-movement of Cruz is amazing to witness, and the intensity of TJ is impressive. But TJ is the one who eats more jabs out of the two. Cruz is light on his feet, TJ goes for a highkick, misses. Legkick lands for TJ, and then another one.They are using the whole cage to it fullest in their movement.  TJ lands a hook on Cruz when he comes in. Cruz with a left hand on the face of TJ, but TJ lands a high-kick to the neck of Cruz.  They are trowing hard shots. Cruz gets a takedown, but TJ gets right back up, and Cruz takes him down again, TJ scrambles up again, and attack. TJ misses with two highkicks. Round ends.

We start round three, and they meet in the middle. A lot of movements still after 10 minutes. Cruz lands hard hooks. 2-3 times on the face of TJ, but TJ gets one of his own, and a leg kick. TJ tries to catch the leg of  Cruz who isn’t having it, and gets free. TJ eats some jabs from Cruz.TJ lands a glancing headkick on the forehead of Cruz. Cruz breaths from his moth, and lands a hard overhand right on TJ, but gets a hard jab right back. Cruz has some blood coming from his lover lip now. TJ lands some nice legkicks, probably in hope to slow Cruz down, but he gets taken down, they scramble fast, and a lot. TJ gets out and they are back on their feet. The crowd is loving it. TJ is a little flat footed by now. But he keeps landing, just like Cruz, but Cruz avoids a lot of damage by getting away from it with his head-movement. Tj takes a deep breath, Cruz lands a couple of right and left hooks. Tj stalks Cruz, being aggressive. Cruz clips TJ with a right hand right at the bell. And we are going to round four.

Forth round, and they go at it immediately with hard shot. Cruz is moving on the outside while TJ hunts after him. Gets a hard jab in on Cruz. Cruz pushes forward with hands on the attack. They keep moving around so much and fast. Cruz checks a kick from TJ. Tj eats a jab coming in.  TJ landed a hard legkick on Cruz, and Cruz for a takedown. They are in the middle  and Cruz eats a hard hook from TJ.  And a high kick after that. Cruz gets a jab in on the face of TJ.Tj lands a hard jab, and gets a takedown, Cruz scrambles back to his feet and uses the fence to block TJ from getting his back.  TJ knees the leg he recently landed that hard legkick on. TJ holds on to Cruz. Tj is bleeding from the left side of his face now. Tj slipped from a highkick but gets back up quick. Cruz lands three  hard jabs, but eats a knee to the face for it.

Championship round, and they go at it as if this was round one. TJ lands a legkick on the left leg of Cruz. Lands a hard kick on to the body, and a solid shot on Cruz. Tj is dealing out some damage now, more than Cruz from before when it has been very even. Tj eats a hard shot to the nose- Tj lands a hard bodykick. Cruz lands on the end of his combination with punches. Cruz is looping with his shots a little now, seems to have a hurt left leg from Dillashaws attacks on it. Tj goes after him against the cage.  TJ is keeping pressure 90 seconds left in the fight. Dominick is landing some nice combination on TJ, and TJ gives a few hard ones back. He is aiming for Cruz leg.  They both land with hard hooks. Cruz lands , TJ lands. And the fight is over. Fantastic performance from both men.

Dominick Cruz def TJ Dillashaw by spil Dec (48-47, 46-49, 49-46) R 5, 5:00 – for UFC bantamweight title

 

FULL RESULTS

MAIN CARD

Dominick Cruz def TJ Dillashaw by spil Dec (48-47, 46-49, 49-46) R 5, 5:00 – for UFC bantamweight title
Eddie Alvarez def. Anthony Pettis by split Dec (29-28, 28-29,29-28) R 3, 5:00
Travis Browne def. Matt Mitrione by TKO (Strikes on the ground) R 3, 4:09
Francisco Trinaldo def Ross Pearson by Unanimous Dec (30-27, 29-28, 30-27) R 3, 5:00

PRELIMINARY CARD

Patrick Cote def. Ben Saunders by TKO  (Uppercuts and strikes) Round 2, 1:14
Ed Herman def Tim Boetsch by TKO (Knee & Strikes) Round 2, 1:39

Chris Wade def. Mehdi Baghdad by Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1, 4:30
Luke Sanders def Maximo Blanco by Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1, 3:38

PRELIMINARY CARD

Paul Felder def. Daron Cruickshank by Submission (rear-naked-choke) Round 3, 3:56
Ilir Latifi def. Sean O’Connell by KO Round 1, 0:30
Charles Rosa def Kyle Bochniak by Unanimous Dec (29-28,29-28, 30-27)
Rob Font def. Joey Gomez by TKO (strikes) Round 2, 4:13
Francimar Barroso def. Elvis Mutapcic by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27 ) Round 3, 5:00