LAS VEGAS - Despite all the success Sacramento fighters have had in the world of mixed martial arts the ultimate trophy, a UFC championship title, has remained an elusive prize for the Capitol city.
In six championship fights, members of Team Alpha Male including Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez and Chad Mendes are 0-6 in UFC championship bouts and now T.J. Dillashaw (9-2) hopes to end that streak Saturday night when he fights Renan Barao (32-1) for the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 173 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"It would be crazy to me," Dillashaw told News10 after UFC weigh ins, "I came in here and looked up to a lot of my friends who were fighting those fights to become UFC champion and I thought they were going to get it. And for me to be the first one to bring it back it is going to be insane."
Dillashaw comes into UFC 173 as a heavy underdog. He faces a Barao who is on a 32 fight win streak and is consistently in the best pound-for-pound conversation. Despite the odds, UFC President Dana White likes the match-up.
"T.J. Dillashaw is being written off by the odds makers and media, but what I love about this fight is this kid fights just like Renan Barao," Dana White told News10. "He moves forward he has heavy hands, and he holds the record for most significant strikes in a minute, he is number two in most significant strikes on the ground. This fight is going to be whose chin can hold up."
Also fighting at UFC 173 is bantamweight contender Chris Holdsworth, who is also part of Sacramento's Team Alpha Male. He'll be making just his second appearance in the UFC, when he squares off against Chico Campus in the preliminary fights.
As a member of Miesha Tate's team, Holdsworth won The Ultimate Fighter finale this past season with a choke-out of Davey Grant.
UFC 173 is Saturday night from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The fight will air live on pay-per-view.