UFC 217 Garbrandt vs Dillashaw
Garbrandt & Dillashaw at the official weigh in / Pic: via Instagram @cody_nolove

UFC 217: Cody Garbrandt vs. TJ Dillashaw – World Bantamweight Championship

You could hardly pick three better words to summarise this Sunday’s batamweight world title fight between ex Team Alpha Male team mates, Cody Garbrandt and T. J. Dillashaw.

After Dillashaw decided to leave Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male for Duane Ludwig’s Bang Muay Thai some 2 years ago, the bad blood between various TAM fighters and Dillashaw has been building steadily into something decisively bitter. In the preparation for the grudge match on Sunday, the accusations that have been levelled at Dillashaw have been extremely serious.

Garbrandt (11-0) claims that Dillashaw (14-3) deliberately kneed TAM’s Chris Houldsworth in the back of the head during a sparring session, resulting in a concussion that has so far ended Houldsworth’s fighting career. He also claims that Dillashaw would frequently go “way overboard” in training and genuinely was out to injure the other fighters. Strong accusations indeed.

The unbeaten Garbrandt also has claimed for many months that he has footage of him knocking Dillashaw out in sparring, something that Dillashaw has strenuously denied ever happening. Until Cody uploaded the video onto his Instagram account yesterday evening.

Watch Cody Garbrandt KO of Dillashaw in sparring here

It’s important to note that this was over 5 years ago, but this release is sure to antagonise an already emotional Dillashaw, just days before their integral showdown. This bout will largely be won by who can keep their emotions under control the best, and not let past betrayals and personal hatred cloud the undoubted technical ability that both fighter possesses in abundance.

Cody is the better pure boxer, and has one punch knockout power, rare for a 135lbs fighter. Wheras Dillashaw is arguably a more well rounded fighter, who displayed excellent fight IQ in his recent bout with the heavy-handed John Lineker. Dillashaw took him down and largely nullified the power than Lineker possessed in the fight. Cody has a strong wrestling pedigree though, and it remains to be seen whether TJ will be able to take him down as comfortably as he did with Lineker.

All in all, this fight has everything, and could easily headline its own PPV show alone. The rivalry and hatred is real, old teammates turned enemies, with wild accusations about each other’s conduct in and out of sparring on everyone’s lips.

The winner will on Sunday be holding much more than the UFC bantamweight title. They will hold considerable bragging rights too.

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Max Birch

Max Birch hails from England and has recently relocated to Sydney. A lifelong MMA fan, BJJ Blue Belt and keen traveler, he follows the UFC with an unfaltering eye, always on the look out for top prospects and a different take on the comings and goings of the sport.

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