Two fighters in the mix in the bantamweight division are scheduled to square off against one another, with Team Alpha Male’s TJ Dillashaw facing Japanese favourite Takeya Mizugaki. With Dillashaw winning five of his last six and Mizugaki winning four in a row, this is one of the most intriguing match-ups available at 135lbs. This comes shortly after the news that former title contender Eddie Wineland will face Johnny Eduardo at UFC Fight Night 42.
The American, Dillashaw, had a four fight winning streak of his own snapped by the man ranked #3 in the division, Raphael Assuncao, via a controversial split decision. Many gave the American the edge, scoring the first and third rounds of the tilt in his favour, but the judges gave Assuncao the verdict and Dillashaw recuperated in overwhelming fashion in January. With a decision win over Mike Easton at Fight Night 35, TJ could be just one impressive win away from a shot at bantamweight gold.
Dillashaw will be facing one of the toughest fighters in the bantamweight division in former WEC title contender Takeya Mizugaki. The 30 year old has substantial momentum coming into the fight, with four victories in a row including, most recently, a decision over Nam Phan. Mizugaki had an impressive 2013 campaign with wins over Erik Perez and Bryan Caraway preceding the Phan fight, and now he will have the chance to continue 2014 in the same way with a win over top contender TJ Dillashaw.
With Dillashaw ranked #5 in the division and Mizugaki ranked #7, this could be considered a #1 contender’s fight. The men ranked #1, #2 and #4 have all fought and lost to the current champion Renan Barao, and Raphael Assuncao (#4) is widely considered next in line.
UFC 173 will be held in MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. on May 24 with the UFC middleweight championship on the line in the card’s main event between the champion, Chris Weidman, and challenger, Vitor Belfort.