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Renan Barao to defend bantamweight title against T.J. Dillashaw in new UFC 173 main event

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Bantamweight champion Renan Barao will defend his belt against T.J. Dillashaw on May 24 at UFC 173 (Getty)

T.J. Dillashaw has been on a roll, having won five of his last six fights in the last two years. But on May 24 at UFC 173 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, all of his abilities will be put to the test.

The former cast member of "The Ultimate Fighter 14" will face champion Renan Barao for the bantamweight title, replacing Chris Weidman-Lyoto Machida as the show's main event. The Weidman-Machida fight was moved to July 5 when Weidman needed minor knee surgery to both of his knees.

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T.J. Dillashaw (Getty)

In facing Barao, Dillashaw will be taking on one of the great pound-for-pound fighters in the world in Barao. As hot as Dillashaw has been, Barao has been way hotter and for way longer. Barao lost his opening bout as a professional in 2005 and has gone 32-0 with a no contest in the nine years since.

Barao is coming off a first-round stoppage of Dillashaw's Team Alpha Male teammate, Urijah Faber. It was the second time that Barao defeated Faber.

Faber campaigned for Dillashaw in the ring after the loss to Barao at UFC 169 in February, and when the Weidman-Machida bout was postponed, Dillashaw got the nod.

Dillashaw was stopped in the first round of the TUF finale on Dec. 3, 2011 by John Dodson. Since then, he's beaten Walel Watson, Vaughan Lee, Issei Tamura, Hugo Viana and Mike Easton. In October, he lost a disputed decision to Raphael Assuncao in Sao Paolo, Brazil, a bout that was named Fight of the Night.

He was scheduled to fight Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 173. Mizugaki's status on the card has not been determined at this stage.

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