Last night at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, natural flyweight John Dodson defeated TJ Dillashaw emphatically to become the bantamweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter 14, emerging as one of the most promising TUF prospects ever.
Dodson claimed victory early on, rocking Dillashaw with a glancing blow and then dropping him with a crushing left hook. The blow crumpled Dillashaw and referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight. As he did, Dillashaw shot for a desperation single leg, rising to shaky legs when he realized it was over. Many protested the stoppage, both on the internet and in the arena; both Dodson and Dillashaw currently hold differing opinions on whether or not the call to stop the bout was the right one.
“When I hit him, I felt like I hit him with an open palm,” Dodson said at the post-fight presser (props to MMAJunkie). “I thought I bitch-slapped him. Sorry, I felt like I slapped him, and I didn’t know if I actually hit him with any real power until I saw him crumble. When I saw him hit the ground, I just tried to jump on it as fast as I could.”
Dodson added simply that it’s not his call to make when it comes to stopping the fight and that he was more than willing to continue doling out punishment if Dillashaw thought he could take it.
“If he wanted to keep on going, I was more than willing to keep throwing,” he said. “It wasn’t stopped early. It’s [the referee’s] job. It’s not my job.”
For his part, Dillashaw felt that he still had fight left in him and was looking to recover, shake out the cobwebs, and make a comeback. Citing battles like Edgar vs. Maynard 2 and 3, Dillashaw made the argument that the fight was stopped early.
“I just wish I could have got to show what I actually can do and let the fight go on,” Dillashaw said. “Some of the best fights we’ve seen in the UFC – Frankie Edgar, he gets a chance to fight through it. I’m in good shape. I can push through those things. Obviously, I was coming into a single leg, and they stopped the fight a little early in my opinion. I didn’t agree with the stoppage, but what are you going to do? You can’t argue your way out of it.”