By Niall Clarke
- UFC Bantamweight division preview and predictions
- TJ Dillashaw is the current champion
- Dominick Cruz set to return to action in January.
The UFC preview continues with the male Bantamweight division which will see the return of its greatest ever fighter.
Injury has kept Dominick Cruz out of action for many years, but he is set to fight for the title he never officially lost in the new year. Across from him is the new champion TJ Dillashaw, who dominated Renan Barao twice in that period. It is exciting just thinking about it!
2015 once again belonged to Dillashaw. A year prior he shocked the world by not only defeating Barao, but dominating him from start to finish to claim the Bantamweight crown. A little over 12 months on from the fight of his life, Dillashaw proved it was no fluke. The champion won the fight via TKO in the fourth round to retain his title- his only fight of 2015.
Two men with similar styles, Dillashaw vs Cruz will be one of the most interesting UFC Bantamweight bouts of all time. It will likely go the distance and the challenger might just edge it on the scorecards. Cruz was almost the MMA innovator of this style of movement so he will be too savvy for the champ. That said with the recent injury issues it would be no shock at all to see Dillashaw retain.
But unfortunately ‘The Domin8tor’ will be forced to retire due to his injury issues and thus vacant the belt. Cruz was on commentary for the final event of the year to provide analysis for the Rafael Dos Anjos vs Donald Cerrone Lightweight title fight. Maybe it is an omen for his post fight career?
With no clear number one, the UFC will set up a between the top four contenders at 135. Dillashaw will be a certainty, Barao could also take part if he does not move up. With the recent fall out, Urijah Faber will want a shot at Dillashaw so may also be included, and Thomas Almeida seems like the best prospect at 135 currently.
The Brazilian put together three straight knockout victories in 2015, including a spectacular flying knee KO of British fighter, Brad Pickett.
A new champion will be crowned at the end of 2016 and Barao will move up to 145 as he struggles to make the weight cut.
As for Pickett, at 37 year of age and three straight defeats ‘One Punch’ is nearing the end of his career. He is scheduled to compete at UFC Fight Night: London in February against Enrique Briones. If he loses that fight, expect retirement from active competition to follow.
Next up, The Featherweights. Stay tuned for predictions on Conor McGregor, Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar and more.
|FOLLOW BRITWATCH – SPORTS IN GENERAL, BRITS IN PARTICULAR!|