But Dillashaw (15-3) instantly rallied to open Round 2 and stunned the crowd by flooring Garbrandt with a left kick to the head.
Victor: T.J. Dillashaw, TKO, round 2. Garbrandt drops Dillashaw with a right hand late and appears to have him in significant trouble as time expires.
But the defending champion unleashed a breathless combination at the midway point of the round and, as the buzzer sounded, Garbrandt let rip with a brutal right hook which sent Dillashaw back to his stool on wobbly legs, staring at an unkind gesture.
That comes soon after I write that as Dillashaw goes for a kick and then Garbrandt comes charging forward with quick hands and puts DIllashaw in reverse gear. He pounced on his downed opponent and kept peppering him with punches until Dan Miragliotta stepped in to award him the TKO victory at 2:41 of the second stanza. Dillashaw then drops Garbrandt with a head kick.
However, Dillashaw now has his eye on fighting pound-for-pound No.1 and long-time flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, which is also an exceptional match-up.
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"The kid is fast. He holds his hands a little bit low anyway, so I was looking to take advantage of it", said Dillashaw. "He hits hard", Dillashaw said.
He was in his first title defense since winning the belt from Dominick Cruz last December.
"This belt has been around my waist the whole time in my mind", Dillashaw said. "But you can condition your chin". The better shape you are and the better chin you have. I should've gotten a rematch after that Cruz fight, a very close split decision that I thought I won, and I did not get it.
The bantamweight champion admits that if he were to fight at flyweight, dropping the ten pounds would require a lifestyle change. This is my belt. (Expletive) you. I don't care what you make.