Bantamweight T.J. Dillashaw (7-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) didn’t want to knock out Issei Tamura at this past weekend’s UFC 158 event. After he did, the Team Alpha Male product realized he probably cost himself $50,000.
“My gameplan going into this fight was I was thinking I was going to submit the guy,” Dillashaw told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). “I thought that was my best chance at a bonus. There were a lot of heavy hitters and exciting fighters on the card. So the time I’m actually thinking about going for submission is the time I get a knockout. Kind of ironic.
“I was willing to take the fight anywhere and be aggressive, but I was just thinking that would be my best chance.”
Tamura’s takedown defense kept Dillahsaw from moving the action to the floor and working his jiu-jitsu game, but on the feet he left an opening, and the Californian delivered with a thudding kick to the head that saw the knee slam into the temple and deposit his foe on the floor.
“I knew he held his hands low,” Dillashaw said. “I already threw a couple head kicks in the first round. I was going for the head kick, and he just dipped into it, as well. It was a little bit of a fake low and change elevation.”
Dillashaw immediately pounced with powerful punches, and the fight was waved off. With the finish not what he had envisioned, Dillashaw was forced to keep his fingers crossed in the locker room as the remaining fights unfolded. Competing on the evening’s preliminary card, there were 10 more fights remaining after Dillashaw’s hand was raised.
His chances at a bonus still looked decent until late into the main card, when Jake Ellenberger scored a crushing knockout of Nate Marquardt. At that point, Dillashaw knew his chances at the bonus check were all but gone.
“I was keeping my fingers crossed,” Dillashaw said. “But then as soon as I saw Ellenberger get the knockout, I was pretty certain it was going to go to him. I was just hoping since there was no submission, they would still give out three bonuses.”
Unfortunately for Dillashaw, the UFC didn’t oblige, and he was left without a bonus check, which he said he likely would have used to buy a house.
“Quit paying rent and make some good investments – that was kind of the plan,” Dillashaw said.
Still, it was an important win for Dillashaw, who is now 3-0 since his loss to John Dodson in the tournament final of “The Ultimate Fighter 14.” He’s likely in line for a top-10 opponent in his next outing. He was supposed to face Mike Easton this past December before injury forced him out of the bout. He’s also got an eye on Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres, who took home UFC on FUEL TV 4's “Submission of the Night” bonus on a night when Dillashaw also earned a tapout.
“He stole my bonus,” Dillashaw said with a laugh.
But whenever the UFC calls, Dillashaw insists he’ll be ready. The bonus plan didn’t pan out, but he’s still focused on climbing to the top of the division.
“I’ve been working hard to try and make my game as well-rounded as possible,” Dillashaw said. “I’d like to fight again as soon as possible, and whoever they want to match me up with, I’m sure they’re going to do pretty well with that.”
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