The greatest comeback in UFC history. Dominator became the champion after three breaks of “crosses”
After such severe injuries, athletes do not remain the same. But this is not about Dominic Cruz.
On the night of August 13-14, the UFC San Diego tournament will take place, which will lead the duel between Marlon Vera and former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. Now Cruz is 37 years old, and he approaches the fight in the status of an underdog. However, it is not the first time he has encountered such hands in important fights.
Cruz went through fire, water and copper pipes. On account of his seven years and seven months of absence due to numerous injuries and relapses. But he always came back, even after three ACL tears, which still seems unthinkable. And at the beginning of 2016, after four years of rehabilitation, the Dominator entered the duel against the current UFC champion TJ Dillashaw.
At that time, Cruz survived three injuries of the “crosses” and therefore could not be considered the favorite of the meeting. But from the first seconds, the Dominator fought as if he hadn’t had any breaks in the “crosses”. In the first round, he dismantled the champion with competent footwork and a subtle sense of distance. Dillashaw couldn’t keep up with Cruz’s constant movement. Moreover, Dominic not only moved, like Muhammad Ali, but also dodged on the waste, like a Japanese ninja.
The video is available on the UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship YouTube channel. The rights to the video belong to the UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In subsequent rounds, Dillashaw was able to adjust to the uncomfortable Cruz. He no longer followed the Dominator in a straight line and waited more often. As a result, TJ began to hit more often, and the contender for the belt, on the contrary, less often. But Cruz still continued to dodge gracefully and remain true to himself and his style. In addition to this, Dominic became the first fighter in the UFC who managed to put Dillashaw on the ground. In the second round, he recorded two successful takedowns, and in the third and fourth – one each.
As for the course of the fight, the champion upped the pace in the third five-minute period and continued to chase the challenger. But Cruise maintained this pace and competently fought off the attacks of the champion. If the Dominator took the first round clearly, then the second and third – with a slight advantage. The only segment where TJ was clearly more successful was the fourth. Then he hit more often and dominated the rack, and Cruz was late with counterattacks.
By the decisive five-minute period, Dillashaw knocked off his opponent’s legs with low kicks. Dominik could no longer weave “lace” around the champion, but he did not stagnate. And even in this state, Cruise was able to interrupt TJ, which seemed unthinkable. As a result, the Dominator was able to get ahead of Dillashaw in terms of the number of hits at the very end of the fight – 112-109. It seemed that no one should ruin this Dominic comeback. But the opinions of the judges were divided. The first judge put up close 48-47 in favor of Cruz, the second – a devastating 49-46 in favor of Dillashaw, and the third – the same 49-46, but in the direction of the Dominator.
Joe Rogan and Dominick Cruz
Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
So Dominick Cruz regained his lost belt. Both foreign media Fox Sports and MMA Weekly called this triumph “the greatest comeback in the history of MMA and one of the greatest in the history of sports.” Just think about it: the fighter faced one of the worst injuries in the sport three times and really came back stronger. And only in this way this battle could end – with drama, a split decision of the judges, bloodied faces of the fighters and heat until the very last seconds of the battle.
It is a pity that this triumph was not followed by the Dominator’s winning streak and he stumbled in the very first defense. After all, life is not a movie.