ABU DHABI – UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling showed once again why he’s an unstoppable force on the ground.
Sterling’s (22-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) grappling was on full display as he dominated former champion T.J. Dillashaw (17-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) en route to a second-round TKO in the co-main event at Etihad Arena on Saturday. Dillashaw’s left shoulder became dislocated early in the first round, and it hampered him in the second after it was popped back in.
Sterling went high with a few kicks to start, but Dillashaw fired back with a kick of his own that Sterling caught and used for a takedown. Sterling got full mount and started raining down punches. He transitioned to the back and worked for a rear-naked choke. Dillashaw was in trouble, but survived. He eventually broke free, but Sterling immediately started to pressure and worked for another takedown, which he got. It was all Sterling in Round 1 and Dillashaw appeared to have injured his left arm.
In Round 2, Dillashaw countered a Sterling kick with a big overhand left, but Sterling continued his kick-heavy approach. Less than a minute in, Sterling landed another takedown. Dillashaw got back up, but Sterling was all over him and took him back down.
Sterling smoothly jumped on his back and landed big elbows and hard ground and pound, forcing Marc Goddard to jump in and stop the fight. Dillashaw immediately looked at his left shoulder as he sat on the stool in disappointment, apologizing to the crowd. He later revealed post-fight that his shoulder popped out early in Round 1, an injury he dealt with all training camp.
Sterling defended his title for a second time and proceeded to call out the returning Henry Cejudo. He also challenged an array of top contenders, which included the victorious Sean O’Malley, who edged out Petr Yan one fight before.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 280 results include:
Aljamain Sterling def. T.J. Dillashaw via TKO (ground-and-pound) – Round 2, 3:44 – to defend bantamweight title
Manon Fiorot def. Katlyn Chookagian via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Belal Muhammad def. Sean Brady via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:47
Caio Borralho def. Makhmud Muradov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Nikita Krylov def. Volkan Oezdemir via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Abubakar Nurmagomedov def. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Armen Petrosyan def. AJ Dobson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Muhammad Mokaev def. Malcolm Gordon via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 4:26
Karol Rosa def. Lina Lansberg via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 280.