UFC 173 gets a new Headliner — Renan Barao vs. TJ Dillashaw

Posted: March 28, 2014 in Commentary/Opinion

MMA: UFC 149-Faber vs BaraoDespite my suggestion that the UFC do something way more desperate creative, they seem to have come up with a “better” idea—booking one of their champions to headline UFC 173. Renan Barao will now meet TJ Dillashaw for the bantamweight championship May 24. This bout became necessary when middleweight champ Chris Weidman got injured and was forced to postpone his title fight with Lyoto Machida.

Barao, who won the interim title in 2012, was promoted to the official undisputed champion last year. He just defended that title against Dillashaw’s teammate, Urijah Faber last month. Due to the timing (and a rib injury), Dillashaw catapulted beyond the guy many thought would be the next challenger—Raphael Assuncao—to grab this great opportunity. Dillashaw was supposed to face Takeya Mizugaki on the same card.

This is a pretty good matchup and it will probably draw both praise and criticism for its slot as headliner. The praise will come from the hardcore fans who view the bantamweight title—and Barao’s skill—as a must see event. The criticism will no doubt come from the group who haven’t quite embraced the lighter weight classes yet.

The rest of the card is highlighted by the heavyweight co-main event of Junior Dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic. Mizugaki is currently waiting for a new opponent.

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