Free Betting Tips, Picks & Predictions for UFC Fight Night 81 – Dillashaw vs Cruz

I’ve spent several hours researching the fight between Dominick Cruz and TJ Dillashaw and I can say with absolute certainty that Dillashaw has significant advantages over Cruz in every single aspect of MMA. If you want to place a bet on this fight, you simply have to bet your money on TJ Dillashaw to win, because Dominick Cruz has almost no path to victory.

Our win rate on fights like this where we have a lot of information to work with is extremely high and whilst I can’t guarantee that all of our betting tips will win, I can promise you that TJ Dillashaw is an incredible value bet when you take into consideration all the information that we have on this matchup.

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Dominick Cruz vs TJ Dillashaw Betting Tip Prediction for UFC Fight Night 81

In this betting tip breakdown, I’m going to explain all the reasons why Dominick Cruz isn’t as good as people think he is and also why you should be betting on TJ Dillashaw to win this fight. I’ll start out by taking a look at the career history of Dominick Cruz…

Career History

Dominick Cruz is very similar to Jose Aldo, because he found great success during a time when Wrestle-Boxers dominated the lower weight classes. By developing elite takedown defence, Aldo and Cruz were able to go on long undefeated runs, because they never faced anyone with the power to punish them for their poor striking defence. I know you’ve probably heard a lot of people praise Cruz for his excellent footwork and elusive style, but he’s actually extremely easy to hit and TJ Dillashaw will be the first opponent that he has ever faced who will have the power and technique to capitalize on his defensive weaknesses.

When you take a look at Dominick Cruz’s career history, you have to admire his 20-1 MMA record, but you also can’t help but notice that all his notable wins have come against either Flyweight’s or fighter’s who don’t have the power to hurt him standing up…


Dominick Cruz’s notable career wins have come against Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez, Demetrious Johnson, Ian McCall, Scott Jorgensen and Takeya Mizugaki.

What’s interesting about those wins is that Benavidez, Mighty Mouse, McCall and Jorgensen were only fighting at Bantamweight because a Flyweight division didn’t exist at the time. Cruz was much bigger than all those guys and he used it to his advantage by outwrestling them. Take a look and see for yourself…


A win over Demetrious Johnson looks impressive on paper, but did you know that Johnson wasn’t even training full time when he fought Cruz back in 2011? What’s also interesting is that Johnson was outstriking Cruz in that fight and Cruz had to rely on his physicality and wrestling to win.


As you can see in the picture above, Cruz also had a significant size advantage over Joseph Benavidez. He ended up winning that fight by split decision, but should a “masterful” striker like Cruz be involved in such a close fight against someone like Benavidez when he had such a clear size advantage over him?

Weight classes exist in MMA because size matters and the bigger you are, the bigger the advantage you have over your opponent. Cruz looks a couple of weight classes bigger than Johnson and Benavidez and he had to rely on his wrestling to beat both of them. Dominick Cruz won those fights with body weight and physicality as opposed to skill. How the hell were Johnson and Benavidez supposed to stuff takedowns and compete in the grappling exchanges, when Cruz was so much bigger than them?

It’s also worth noting that Urijah Faber doesn’t have the best striking and yet he didn’t have any problems staying competitive in the stand up exchanges with Dominick Cruz. If Dominick’s striking was really as good as people say it is, would he be struggling to outstrike a guy like Urijah Faber?

I’ve watched all of Dominick Cruz’s fights in the UFC over the last few weeks and I am not impressed by his performances. Cruz played a major role in bringing the lower weight classes to the UFC, but MMA has evolved a lot since 2011 and Dominick’s impressive performance against Takeya Mizugaki isn’t enough to convince me that he has improved enough to compete with the next generation of MMA fighter like TJ Dillashaw.

How much could Dominick Cruz have improved since he was last active back in 2011?

It’s possible that Dominick Cruz could have improved a lot since he was last active back in 2011, but I personally feel that it’s unlikely. It’s not like Cruz has been in the gym getting better and working on his technique, instead he has been trying to rehabilitate his body after suffering 4 devasting injuries that include 1 torn groin and 3 ACL surgeries. Recovery for an ACL tear takes on average 1-2 years per surgery and a groin tear can also take 6-12 months to fully heal.

Dominick Cruz in the recent embedded video said that it took him around 9 months to recover from his first ACL tear and that he knew he would have to go through it all again when he tore his ACL a second time. 18 months is a very quick turnaround time to recover from 2 ACL surgeries and it’s fair to say that it probably took a hell of a lot longer before his knees were back to full strength. But, if we take Dominick’s word for it and assume that he had recovered from 2 ACL surgeries in just 18 months, we can also reasonably assume that it took him another 9 months to recover from his 3rd ACL tear and at least another 9 months to recover from his groin tear. This means that we can now conservatively assume that Dominick Cruz has spent at least 36 months trying to recover from his injuries and rehabilitate his body.

It has only been 40 months since Cruz was last active back in 2011, which means he has only had 4 months [at best] to focus on improving his technique in the gym. Improvements don’t come from watching tape and reading books, they come from practice and repetition and Cruz has barely even had enough time to fully recover from his injuries, let alone improve as a fighter by spending time practicing new techniques in the gym.

Therefore, it is possible that Cruz could have improved since he was last active back in 2011, but based on the information we have available it’s extremely unlikely. The truth is, nobody knows if Cruz has improved or not. Not even Cruz really knows if he has improved, because he hasn’t spent enough time in the Octagon in true competitive situations to shake off the ring rust, test his cardio and see if his fighting style is still effective.

I’m not going to rule out the possibility that Cruz has improved since 2011, but I’m also not going to turn down the opportunity of making money by betting on TJ Dillashaw, just because Dominick Cruz put in an impressive performance against Takeya Mizugaki.

As MMA bettors, we have to try and accurately predict the outcome of a fight based on the information we have available and the information we have relating to this fight indicates that Cruz will not have improved that much since he was last active back in 2011. It’s actually a lot more likely that he has declined after everything his body he has been through over the last 5 years.

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Will the disruption at Team Alpha Male effect TJ Dillashaw?

Many people are speculating that TJ Dillashaw’s problems with Urijah Faber could effect him going into this matchup, but nobody seems to have mentioned the fact that Dominick Cruz has also suffered disruption to his training, because most of his training parners left Alliance MMA back in the summer. The issues at Alliance may have flown under the radar due to the lesser named fighters involved in the issues, but Johnny Case, Myles Jury and Michael Chandler have all left Alliance, which means that Cruz hasn’t had many high level training partners to work with in the lead up to this fight.

I’m really excited to see how much TJ Dillashaw has improved since he started training at his new home at Team Elevation, because we’ve already seen massive improvements in fighters like Drew Dober and Neil Magny who also train at that camp. It’s also worth noting that Dillashaw’s training may not have been disrupted too much after switching from Team Alpha Male, because Lance Palmer, Joseph Benavidez and Danny Castillo have also moved to Team Elevation. It has also been confirmed that Justin Buchholz who was TJ’s coach at Team Alpha Male will still be cornerning him in his fight against Dominick Cruz.

It’s possible that TJ could be effected by his drama with Urijah Faber, but everyone coming out of Team Elevation right now looks incredible and I believe there’s a good chance we’ll see some vast improvements to TJ’s game.

Fighting Styles

Dominick Cruz has been labelled as an elite striker, but the reality is that he struggled to outstrike Urijah Faber and much smaller opponent’s in Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez. His footwork is effective to some extent because it enables him to stay elusive and catch his opponents with unorthodox combos and strikes, but it also comes at a cost… The biggest cost being the amount of energy that it takes to maintain his style of fighting. Dominick Cruz tends to slow down after the second round of every fight and you will often see him take big deep breaths after completing certain combos and footwork sequences. This is not because Cruz has bad cardio, but more down to the fact that it takes a massive amount of energy to maintain his style of fighting. Cruz cannot sustain his footwork and movement for 25 minutes without gassing out, so he needs to use his wrestling to secure top position in order to conserve his energy. This is where this fight gets real interesting, because TJ Dillashaw is a very strong wrestler, who has NEVER been taken down in 10 fights in the UFC. TJ is also very strong on the ground with very good scrambles. Cruz struggled to control Flyweight’s on the ground, so I find it hard to see how he’s going to be able to control Dillashaw, who is much bigger and much stronger than anyone that Cruz has fought in the past. If Cruz can’t get Dillashaw to the ground, he’s in big trouble and I believe Dillashaw’s strong wrestling and elite takedown defence are one of his biggest keys to victory in this fight.

The other weakness in Dominick Cruz’s fighting style is the fact that he keeps his hands low. This style carries certain benefits such as being able to secure underhooks quickly to defend takedowns and it also helps you see strikes coming a lot sooner, but keeping your hands low also makes you a lot easier to hit and Cruz gets hit ALOT. Like I said earlier in the article… Cruz is labelled as a masterful striker who is very elusive, but he’s actually very easy to hit, it’s just that none of his previous opponent’s have had the power to hurt him standing up. TJ Dillashaw absolutely has the power to hurt Dominick Cruz and I believe there’s a very good chance that TJ wins this fight by knockout or at the very least hurts Cruz in a way that we’ve never seen before.

One of the reasons why Cruz slows down so much, is that he wings his punches and misses a large percentage of the strikes he throws. His winged punches and missed strikes use up an enormous amount of energy and whilst they may help him setup some of his more cleaner strikes, they also tire him out, which means the strikes that he does land don’t carry that much power. TJ Dillashaw fights at a very high pace and he’s constantly coming forward. I don’t believe that Dominick Cruz has the power to back TJ up or the cardio to keep up with him for 25 minutes. TJ Dillashaw lands more strikes per minute than anyone else in the UFC and lands almost double the amount of strikes per minute that Cruz does.

Dominick Cruz has said that he believes that TJ has copied his style, which is true because Dillashaw used to mimic Cruz in training when Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez were in fight camps preparing to fight Cruz. Benavidez and Faber fought Cruz 4 times in total, which means that Dillashaw has had experience breaking down Cruz as a fighter in 4 full training camps. I believe that this gives Dillashaw a significant advantage in this fight, because he has had a high level understanding of Cruz’s strengths, weaknesses and fighting style for a long time.


If you take a moment to really think about how this fight will play out, you have to see that Dominick Cruz has almost no chance of beating TJ Dillashaw. Look at it like this…

Can Dominick Cruz take TJ down?

It’s possible, but TJ has NEVER been taken down in 10 fights in the UFC…

Can Dominick Cruz control TJ on the ground?

I seriously doubt it… Cruz failed to control Flyweights on the ground and TJ Dillashaw is a very strong wrestler with excellent scrambles.

Can Dominick Cruz outstrike TJ?

Cruz is labelled as an elite striker, but he’s simply not as good as TJ Dillashaw. TJ is faster, more technical and more powerful and he also lands almost double the amount of strikes per minute than Cruz does.

Can Dominick Cruz win inside the distance?

Cruz only has 2 wins inside the distance in 11 fights in the UFC. One of those finishes was against Brian Bowles, who couldn’t answer the bell in the second round due to a broken hand. That means that Cruz has only finished one of his opponents in 11 fights in the UFC. It’s possible that Cruz could beat TJ by knockout or submission because anything can happen in MMA, but TJ is extremely durable and extremely well rounded, so I personally believe that it’s very unlikely that Cruz will win this fight inside the distance.

Can Dominick Cruz outwork TJ Dillashaw?

Dominick Cruz has questionable cardio, whilst TJ Dillashaw has some of the best cardio in the UFC. TJ also lands almost double the amount of strikes per minute than Cruz does and takes the centre of the Octagon in fights, whilst Cruz likes to fight on the outside. There’s no way that Cruz will be able to outwork TJ Dillashaw…

So how does Cruz win?

It’s very unlikely that Cruz will be able to take Dillashaw down and control him out the ground and it’s also very unlikely that he will be able to outstrike him, outwork him or beat him inside the distance. So how the does he win this fight?

This matchup is has been one of the easiest for me to predict in a long time and that’s the reason why I’m betting big on TJ Dillashaw to win. I personally believe that Dillashaw should be much closer to a 1.30 | -333 | 3/10 favourite and for that reason I believe he’s a great bet. Don’t leave money on the table. Bet on TJ Dillashaw to win…

Don’t forget to stop by our MMA Betting Forum and join in the discussion on UFC 195. I will also be in the Chat Room during the event to talk about the fights live. I look forward to seeing you there!

Click here to read my VIP betting tips for UFC Fight Night 81 – Dominick Cruz vs TJ Dillashaw.

MY BETTING TIP: 5 Units [5% of your bankroll] on TJ Dillashaw to win at odds of 1.67 | -149 | 67/100

**PLEASE NOTE** – This betting tip was first posted in the Early Bird Betting Tips area of our website on the 2nd of January. The odds published in this article may have significantly changed since then. Our VIP Members get our betting picks early, which enables them to place their bets at the best possible odds…

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I'm a Professional Gambler from the UK. I specialize in betting on MMA. I've got 1 kid, a Shih Tzu and I've been making money from gambling for around 8 years now.

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