We knew heading into UFC Fight Night 29 that one win streak would continue while another would end when top-10 bantamweights T.J. Dillashaw and Raphael Assuncao squared off. Both 135-pound fighters had registered four consecutive victories entering their key affair in Brazil and were looking to move up the contender ladder. Not surprisingly, both talented fighters put on a tremendous show in the Octagon going the three-round distance in a back-and-forth battle. It was Assuncao who emerged with the very close split-decision victory.
Dillashaw actually started the fight well in the opening round becoming the only man to ever take Assuncao to the mat and had the Brazilian in danger after landing a head kick and later locking in a tight choke attempt. Assuncao managed to survive and had a solid middle frame as he started to find his range with a varied attack that included some nice combinations that left Dillashaw with a bloody nose.
It appeared as though Dillashaw pushed the pace more in the final round, as Assuncao wasn’t as active. He was dealing with major swelling around his left eye. Assuncao did land a hard right hand in the final frame that opened up a cut over Dillashaw’s eye. The bloodied face of “The Viper” may have been the small difference that swung the fight in Assuncao’s direction.
Dillashaw takes a step back with just his second career loss and was obviously disappointed with the final verdict. However, he should remain a key player within the division and gave a fine effort despite the defeat.
Assuncao was ranked fifth in the division heading into this bout and is obviously keeping close tabs on the upcoming bantamweight fight between Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald in December, and how the title situation will play out with Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz. Assuncao should have a major fight waiting in line for him next. Hopefully Dillashaw does too.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports