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UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw
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Published: 5/24/2014  at  3:54:00 AM
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UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw

Saturday, May 24 – 10:30 p.m. ET
Las Vegas, NV

Renan Barao (34-1) vs. TJ Dillashaw (10-2)

Bantamweight title bout
Line: Barao -850, Dillashaw +575

Renan Barao puts his title and long unbeaten streak on the line at UFC 173 on Saturday night as he squares off against TJ Dillashaw in Las Vegas.

There are many fighters that have gone on big-time winning streaks, but none have ever went on a tear similar to the one Renan Barao is on. Since losing his first professional fight in 2005, Barao has gone 35 consecutive fights without a loss (34-0, 1 NC). During that streak, he has outlasted some terrific fighters such as Urijah Faber (2 times), Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald. In his last fight on Feb. 1, he was able to knock Faber out in 3:42. While there was some controversy on whether or not the fight was called too early, there is no denying that Barao was in complete control of the match with a 37-9 striking advantage, including a 17-8 edge in significant strikes. Barao is a rare blend of speed and cardio, and can win a match in many different ways. For Dillashaw, he has a big opportunity in front of him. In his last fight against Mike Easton on Jan. 15, he was able to get an easy decision victory with an impressive 117-46 advantage in significant strikes. Dillashaw is seen a future star in this sport, but he will need to prove to the world that he is ready to take the next step. While Dillashaw is a talented fighter, he has not competed against anybody as good as Barao. In the end, the heavily-favored BARAO is too talented for Dillashaw, and will continue his record breaking winning streak.

Of Barao’s 34 consecutive victories, 14 have come by way of submission, his preferred method of attack. But "The Baron" has shown throughout his career that he can win a match in many different ways though, posting 12 wins by decision and eight knockout victories. The Brazilian does not land as many significant strikes (3.7) as Dillashaw (4.8), but he does a terrific job of picking his spots. The 27-year-old Barao uses his strikes to not just knock his opponent out, but he has the ability to wear them down too. If he is able to establish the pace early in the fight, than he has a great chance to retain the belt. However, if he allows Dillashaw, who has an identical 5-foot-6, 135-pound frame, to gain some confidence early, then his opponent could pull off the huge upset.

Like Barao, Dillashaw has also shown the ability to win a fight in many different ways. His 10 career wins are broken down as three knockouts, three submissions and four decisions. He has been a pro only since 2010, but has gone 5-1 since losing a title bout to John Dodson on Dec. 3, 2011. When you look at the statistics for Saturday's fight, Dillashaw has the advantage on paper in most categories with the biggest advantage in takedowns with a 3.04 takedown average and 2.28 submission average, which are considerably higher than Barao's 1.59 takedown average and 0.87 submission average. Dillashaw also lands 4.8 significant strikes per minute (3.7 for Barao) and is much more accurate at 49%, compared to 36% for his opponent. Both fighters do a tremendous job of defending against the takedown though with Dillashaw at a perfect 100%, while Barao is at 95%. The 28-year-old Dillashaw is a talented young fighter out of Sacramento, CA, that has a chance to be a star in the sport, but it is unknown whether or not he is ready for a fight of this magnitude.

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