UFC bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw puts his title on the line tonight at UFC Fight Night 81 against former champ Dominick Cruz, who was forced to vacate his title back in 2014 due to injury. Now “The Dominator” will get the opportunity to regain the crown he never lost.
UFC Fight Night 81 takes place at TD Garden in Boston on Sunday and will broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 starting at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT), with preliminary card bouts also streaming on UFC Fight Pass starting at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT).
Stick with us here as ProMMAnow.com will provide live round-by-round updates and video highlights of all the action.
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UFC Fight Night 81 quick results:
MAIN CARD (FOX Sports 1, 10 p.m. ET)
- And New… Champ Dominick Cruz def. TJ Dillashaw via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 49-46) – for bantamweight title
- Eddie Alvarez def. Anthony Pettis via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Travis Browne def. Matt Mitrione via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 4:09
- Francisco Trinaldo def. Ross Pearson via unanimous decision (30-37, 29-28, 30-27)
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET)
- Patrick Cote def. Ben Saunders via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:14
- Ed Herman def. Tim Boetsch via knockout (knee) – Round 2, 1:39
- Chris Wade def. Mehdi Baghdad via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:30
- Luke Sanders def. Maximo Blanco via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:38
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6 p.m. ET)
- Paul Felder def. Daron Cruickshank via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 3:56
- Ilir Latifi def. Sean O’Connell via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:30
- Charles Rosa def. Kyle Bochniak via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Rob Font def. Joey Gomez via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:13
- Francimar Barroso def. Elvis Mutapcic via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
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UFC Fight Night 81 round-by-round updates:
Francimar Barroso vs. Elvis Mutapcic
Round 1 – Lead left hook from Barroso. Left body kick and a heavy right hand from Barroso, followed by another body kick. Straight right from Barroso, inside leg kick. Mutapcic missing with his strikes and gets taken down. Barroso works from inside guard. They trade elbow strikes. Mutapcic gets up before the bell. 10-9 Barroso.
Round 2 – Left counter hook, inside leg kick from Mutapcic, who’s being more active this round. Barroso landing leg kicks and single punches. Straight right from Barroso, he shoots in, stuffed. Nice quick left jab from Barroso and Mutapcic is bleeding from his right eye. Barroso switching stances. Inside leg kick. Nice overhand right from Barroso. Right hand, shoots, stuffed. Body kick from Mutapcic. 10-9 Barroso.
Round 3 – Barroso getting the better of the standup again. Barroso ducks under for a shot but it’s stuffed. Mutapcic loses his mouthpiece for a third time. Boos from the crowd. Left hook from Mutapcic stuns Barroso for a brief second. Body shot from Mutapcic as he backs Barroso to the cage. Body shot from Barroso, right straight. Hard body kick and right hand to the jaw from Barroso. Mutapcic shows signs that it hurt in his eyes but sucks it up. They back up to the cage and exchange punches in the last few seconds. 10-9 Barroso.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Francimar Barroso def. Elvis Mutapcic via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Rob Font vs. Joey Gomez
Round 1 – Gomez with a left. They trade leg kicks. Right hand from Font. Stiff jab. Front kick and takedown from Font. Takedown from Font. Goes for the back but Gome is back up, eats a right over the top on the way. Uppercut and left hook from Font. Lands a couple more. Again with a one two and a takedown. Gomez right up, lands a right in the clinch. Font pressing him to the cage, knee from Gomez on the break. Quick snappy jab from Gomez, but he eats a spinning elbow from Font. 10-9 Font.
Round 2 – Body kick from Font. Low kick. Hook kick. Right hook and a left find their way around Gomez’s guard. Side kick from Font. Front kick, another. Spinning body kick from Gomez. Right hook and a left from Font. Shovel hook from Font and a few more shots hurt Gomez. Font goes after him with a big flurry but Gomez gets a takedown. Font up after a few moments. Font starts teeing off with punches, backs him to the cage and crumples him with a combo. Very nice finish from Font. Like this guy’s hands.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Rob Font def. Joey Gomez via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:13
Kyle Bochniak vs. Charles Rosa
Round 1 – Kyle with a right hand counter. Kyle catches Rosa on the way in. Straight left from Rosa. Again. Body kick from Bochniak. Body kick from Rosa smacks loudly. Right counter from Bochniak, and another. Nice body kick from Rosa. Right counter from Bochniak drops Rosa hard. He goes in for the finish, Rosa goes for a leg and this results in a stalemate, then it’s back to the feet. Rosa eats some punches and gets a brief takedown before Bochniak is right back up. 10-9 Bochniak.
Round 2 – Head kick from Rosa, Bochniak eats it. Low kick from Rosa, right counter punch from Bochniak. He eats a left. Hard overhand right drops Bochniak to a knee for a second, he touches the canvas but is right back up. Low kick from Rosa. Bochniak fires one back. Right hook from Rosa. He shoots in, stuffed. Right hand and a knee from Bochniak on the break. Stiff straight right from Rosa. Body kick from Rosa. Takedown from Rosa with under a minute to go. Bochniak kicks him off to get back to his feet. Takedown from Bochniak. Rosa fights his way to his feet, narrowly escaping an illegal head kick attempt. Closer round. 10-9 Rosa.
Round 3 – Bochniak lands a punch combo. Couple of leg kicks from Rosa. Bochniak trying to counter. Hard low kick from Rosa. Bochniak’s lead leg is bruised badly from the kicks and it has slowed him down considerably. Right hook from Bochniak, he lands a couple more. Rosa fires back and has him pressed to the cage. Bochniak escapes a takedown attempt and goes for his own but is unable. Rosa fires back, Bochniak’s nose is a bloody mess. Kyle shoots in, gets his neck caught in a guillotine briefly. They trade final punches before the bell. Great fight. 10-9 Rosa. … Bochniak looked great considering he took this fight on like four days notice.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Charles Rosa def. Kyle Bochniak via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Ilir Latifi vs. Sean O’Connell
Round 1 – The first punch Latifi throws, an overhand right behind the ear wobbles and puts O’Connell down, he eats one more on the way down, and it’s over as quick as it started.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Ilir Latifi def. Sean O’Connell via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:30
Daron Cruickshank vs. Paul Felder
Round 1 – This should be great. Felder with a leg kick, caught, countered by Daron. Body kick from Daron as Felder pursues. Nice right from Felder, then he’s out of the way. Left hook from Daron. Leg kick from Felder. Inside leg kick from Daron. Felder returns same. Two side kicks, the second to the face, from Daron. Felder continues to pursue, pushes Daron to the cage. Daron turns him around, short right hand. Spinning elbow, head kick and goes for a takedown, but it’s stuffed. Daron drops levels continuing to look for it, he picks him up for a slam but Felder catches him in a guillotine. Daron puts him down gently and pops his head out. Felder back up, pressing Daron to the cage, lands some nice punches, Felder goes for the takedown but gets reversed. Daron on top inside guard at the bell. Pretty close round.
Round 2 – Inside leg kick from Felder. Side kick from Daron. Wheel kick and a right hand from Cruickshank. He presses Felder to the cage looking for a single and he gets Cruickshank on his back. Daron gets to his feet and is landing some beautiful stand-up techniques before he ends up in a reverse triangle from Felder. Just over a minute to go and Felder softens up the body with punches. They roll and the choke is no longer tight. Daron gets to top control. Felder gets to his feet while Daron controls the legs, and gets a double leg at the bell. 10-9 Cruickshank.
Round 3 – Cruickshank looks exhausted and/or in pain in his corner. Hard leg kick from Felder. Daron pursues, but ends pressed to the cage. Felder with a knee to the body, an elbow, more knees. Cruickshank drops levels for a takedown attempt. Felder stuffs it and controls the body as they get up. Felder drags him down from the back. Daron gets to his feet but is pressed back to the cage. Felder drops levels for the takedown. Felder dropping elbows with under 2 minutes to go. Felder takes his back with both hooks in, standing now, choke locked in as they fall back and Cruickshank taps out. Both guys were coming off a pair of losses. Hopefully Daron doesn’t get cut, he’s a fun fighter but needs to make some changes.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Paul Felder def. Daron Cruickshank via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 3:56
Luke Sanders vs. Maximo Blanco
Round 1 – We’ve been covering Luke his entire pro career. Leg kick from Blanco. Right to the body. Right counter from Sanders. He backs out from the clinch. Leg kick from Blanco. Right from Sanders. A one two, he lands another counter. Leg kick from Sanders, again. Nice right from Sanders. He’s looking good. One two from Sanders. His technique much improved and crisper. Couple of knees from Sanders in the clinch. He drops Blanco with a left. They scramble and Blanco locks up a quick arm triangle. He lets go after a few moments and Sanders is back up. Shawn Hammonds BJJ defense right there. Leg kick Sanders. Left from Sanders. A right and then a left drops Blanco hard and Luke jumps on his back and chokes him out forcing the tap! Fuck yeah. Shawn Hammonds BJJ. … Luke lobbies for a fight night bonus in the post-fight interview. He deserves it on this short notice fight at 145 pounds. Now he’ll be going back to 135.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Luke Sanders def. Maximo Blanco via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:38
Mehdi Baghdad vs. Chris Wade
Round 1 – Wade with an early takedown. He stacks Baghdad occasionally landing the punch or elbow. Wade postures up and stays on Baghdad, trying to get on his back, now trips him to the ground and gets one hook in. Wade flattens him out and locks in the rear naked choke. Mehdi taps.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Chris Wade def. Mehdi Baghdad via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:30
Tim Boetsch vs. Ed Herman
Round 1 – Hard leg kick from Boetsch. Hard overhand right staggers Herman briefly. These are two old school sluggers. Herman’s red hair in cornrows of some sort. Jab from Boetsch, great head movement. Overhand right. Left hook to the liver from Boetsch, Herman winces. Uppercut from Boetsch inside snaps Herman’s head back. All these strikes are taking place during exchanges but these are the most significant of the attacks. Nice one two from Boetsch snaps Herman’s head back. Herman gets busy inside and ties Boetsch up briefly. 10-9 Boetsch.
Round 2 – Right from Herman snaps Boetsch’s head. Nice stiff jab from Herman. Inside leg kick from Herman. Right from Herman backs Boetsch to the cage. Knees and uppercuts inside from Herman crumple Boetsch to the canvas and that’s all she wrote. Replay shows it was a knee straight to the face from a Thai clinch that put Boetsch out.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Ed Herman def. Tim Boetsch via knockout (knee) – Round 2, 1:39
Patrick Cote vs. Ben Saunders
Round 1 – Saunders pursuing. Lamb chops in full effect. Cote light on his toes. Leg kick. Clinch knee from Cote, inside leg kick. He ducks a left hook. Hard kick from Saunders, Cote takes part of it on the forearm. Trip takedown from Saunders. Body shots from Saunders as he maintains control from inside guard. Closed guard from Cote as Saunders continues to soften him up. Cote goes for an armbar, Saunders gets free but Cote now has top control and stays there for the remainder. Close.
Round 2 – Saunders pursuing. Cote landing some nice punches inside the clinch, Saunders is getting battered with uppercut after uppercut as he tries to hang on Cote’s neck. He goes down and Cote lands shots until the ref stops it.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Patrick Cote def. Ben Saunders via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:14
Ross Pearson vs. Francisco Trinaldo
Round 1 – Right hook from Pearson. Low kick. High kick blocked on Trinaldo’s forearm. Lead left hook from Pearson and a kick to the body. Trinaldo with a kick and a straight left. Pearson pressing, body kick. Francisco returns same. Body kick from Pearson, then a low kick. Straight left from Trinaldo. Hard knee to the body from Trinaldo. Body kick from Pearson. Ross catches a kick and counters with a punch. High kick from Trinaldo. Pearson answers with the same. High kick from Trinaldo stuns Ross. Trinaldo picks him up and dumps him on his head at the bell. Damn! 10-9 Trinaldo.
Round 2 – Left hook from Trinaldo. High kick. Trinaldo pressing and Ross catches a kick and dumps him on the mat. Ross postures up with a right. Trinaldo back to his feet. He backs Ross to the cage with sharp punches and a couple knees. Thai clinch and another knee. Uppercut from Pearson. Elbow from Trinaldo. Clinched against the cage, a couple knees from Trinaldo before he backs out. Front kick from Trinaldo. Pearson pursuing. Switch kick to the body from Trinaldo. Backfist. Head kick. Straight left counter from Trinaldo and then an uppercut. Pearson also scored. Clinched at the bell. 10-9 Trinaldo.
Round 3 – High kick from Pearson. Overhand right from Trinaldo staggers Pearson. Trinaldo goes in for the kill but gets stifled in the clinch. Pearson back pressing. Hard high kick from Pearson and Trinaldo just eats it like a gangsta. Trinaldo lands his own high kick, but Ross catches it and dumps him. Trinaldo fights back to his feet with 2 minutes to go. Low kick from Pearson. Right hand from Trinaldo. High kick from Ross. 10-9 Trinaldo.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Francisco Trinaldo def. Ross Pearson via unanimous decision (30-37, 29-28, 30-27)
Travis Browne vs. Matt Mitrione
Round 1 – Travis moving well. Mitrione looking softish. Body kick from Browne. Again. High kick from Browne blocked. Straight left from Mitrione. High kick and a knee from Browne. Body shots from Mitrione. They trade front kicks. Matt comes in with a quick right, eats a counter right. Travis gets hit with a right and seems to be off balance when he goes down on his butt. Matt lats him up. Body kick from Browne. Right from Matt. Front kick from Browne. Mitrione takes a bad poke to the eye, covers his face and turns away. “Gimmie a minute,” Matt says to the ref. Time is called as the doctor takes a look. He seems okay. … Good stuff. Only a few seconds left in the round. 10-9 Mitrione.
Round 2 – Mitrione comes out aggressive with punches. Inside leg kick. There’s a crazy flurry and Matt takes a hard thumb in the eye but tries to fight through it. He tells the ref he’s seeing double so they stop it and call in the doctor to look at it. … Timeout … Body kick from Browne. They trade low kicks. Left straight from Matt. Body kick from Browne, then a high kick. Straight left from Matt. He ducks into a knee and Travis trips him to the canvas. Matt gets to his knees and then his feet. Body kick from Travis and a counter right. Matt keeps trying to rush in with a left. Travis times a knee to the body, then a high kick. Another hard knee from Travis to the body. 10-9 Browne.
Round 3 – Switch kick to the body from Browne. Nice step in left from Matt. Jab from Browne, then a straight right that stuns Mitrione. Low kick from Matt. Matt with a leap in lead right hook. Body lock and a huge slam from Browne. He gets full mount and drops some hammers. Postures up with a steady flow of punches and elbows as Mitrione just tries to cover up. Browne continues the assault until the ref has seen enough. Mitrione’s right eye is a freakin mess and badly swollen.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Travis Browne def. Matt Mitrione via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 4:09
Eddie Alvarez vs. Anthony Pettis
Round 1 – Inside low kick from Eddie. Alvarez shoots in and gets the takedown. Pettis uses his back to the cage to get up. Eddie pressing on him, controlling the action for well over a minute now. Pettis avoiding the takedown until Alvarez gets a trip. Pettis gets up quickly and gets some distance on the feet. Body kick and high kick from Pettis. Wheel kick attempt from Pettis, Eddie times it for a takedown. Pettis back up and Eddie backs out. Body kick from Pettis. Body kick from Alvarez. Inside low kick. Hard body kick from Pettis. Alvarez switching stances. High kick from Eddie blocked just before the bell. 10-9 Alvarez.
Round 2 – Body kick from Alvarez. Right hook counter. Another right hook. Eddie pushes him to the cage and ties him up there. He backs out after some time. Body kick from Pettis. Eddie pressuring. Leg kick from Pettis. Low kick from Alvarez. Left hook follows. Low kick from Pettis, Alvarez tries to time it for a takedown. Pettis defends and lands a left as they move back to the center. Body kick from Pettis. Low kick from Alvarez. Right hand from Pettis. He defends an Alvarez takedown, lands a stiff right jab. Couple low kicks from Pettis. Alvarez with a step in right. Hard low kick and Alvarez clinches up at the bell. 10-9 Pettis.
Round 3 – Low kick from Pettis. More kicks to the body and legs from the Roufusport fighter. Alvarez clinches up against the cage briefly, lands a body kick as they move back to center. Pettis’ corner saying Alvarez is hurt. Pettis lands a couple shots before Alvarez scores a takedown. Pettis looking for a heel hook, Alvarez breaks free with a hammerfist or two. Pettis fights his way to his feet with just over 2 minutes. Alvarez puts him right back down but can’t capitalize. Pettis back up and they exchange during the final moments. 10-9 Alvarez. … Lots of boos after the fight for Alvarez, probably unhappy with his gameplan. Eddie calls out the champion. … Not likely after that type of fight. It works, but the brass doesn’t care for it and neither do the fans to be honest.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Eddie Alvarez def. Anthony Pettis via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Champ T.J. Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz – for bantamweight title
Round 1 – Here we go. Cruz puts up his gloves for the touch. No dice. High kick from TJ to start. Dom catches a kick. Cruz keeps his hands lower than TJ. Low kick TJ. These guys are almost mirror images. Right to the body from Dom. Head kick from TJ but gets taken down from it. He’s right back up. TJ shoots, stuffed. Low kick. Right from Dom. TJ takes a deep breath. Right counter hook from Dom and a nice left counter. TJ backing him up. TJ walks into a right counter. Body kick from TJ. Cruz responds with a punch combo that scores. Right counter from TJ. Body kick from TJ. Another. Dom catches a body kick and TJ is all over him with the pressure. Dom ducking and dodging. Love this fight. TJ with the shot. Stuffed. Going to be interesting to see who starts to fade first. Very close round. Too close to call.
Round 2 – TJ pressuring. Right counter from Dominick. TJ can’t seem to find Dom with his punches. Right counter from Cruz. OMG Cruz’s head movement and defense is on point. TJ slips/gets pushed down on a head kick attempt. Left jab from Cruz. Cruz is so damn hard to hit. Lead right hook from TJ gets Cruz’s attention. Leg kick from TJ, another. Head kick from TJ. Cruz perfectly times a takedown but TJ is right back up. Cruz times one more takedown. Back up. Under a minute to go. Left hook from TJ. 10-9 Cruz.
Round 3 – TJ pursuing. Cruz avoiding most of it. Low kick from TJ. He catches a kick but can’t capitalize. TJ with a jab. Counter right hook from Cruz. Right counter from TJ. Overhand right from Cruz. TJ looks to be getting frustrated at Cruz’s elusiveness. Nice low kick from TJ. Cruz times a low kick for a takedown. TJ scrambles, Dom looking for the neck and it’s back to the feet. Straight left on the chin from Dom. Jab from TJ. Another. Dom lighting him up with counter combos. TJ can’t find him. Cruz is the invisible man. Cruz clips TJ with a right hand on the back of the head at the bell that knocks him off balance. 10-9 Cruz.
Round 4 – Body kick from TJ. Right counter from TJ. Nice left from TJ and a low kick. Hard low kick from TJ buckles Cruz’s leg. He of course has had numerous knee injuries and this could have re-injured something. His movement looks different now. High kick from TJ. Cruz looks more desperate now but is getting it under control as best he can. TJ times a kick for a takedown. Cruz gets back up, but TJ is holding on him and he’s targeting the leg with a knee. Cruz does not like it at all. Cruz gets out of there. Back to the center. Under a minute to go. TJ slips on a kick, back up. Left straight. CRuz goes for a takedown, eats a knee. Right counter from Cruz. 10-9 TJ.
Round 5 – Low kick from TJ. Targeting that same leg of Cruz. Hard body kick from TJ. Big right hand from TJ. Cruz ducks into a big left kick to the head and just EATS it. Good god. Jab from Cruz. Another. Body kick from TJ who is keeping on the pressure. 3 minutes to go. Hard low kick from TJ to that left leg of Cruz clearly does some more damage. Another leg kick from TJ with just over 2 minutes to go. Cruz is seriously compromised. Right counter hook from TJ. Right hook and high kick from TJ, he smells a finish, chasing it. Stiff left from Cruz. Right on the chin from TJ, then another hacking low kick. They trade right hands. Cruz shoots, stuffed, eats a left. Cruz with a flying knee attempt. They slug it out in the remaining seconds. 10-9 TJ Dillashaw.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Dominick Cruz def. TJ Dillashaw via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 49-46)
Now, is he going to have to go through another surgery? That would just be the worst luck of all time. … Cruz clarifies after the fight it was his foot that was hurt, not his leg. He insinuates it was injured coming into the fight and had “had enough”.
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