If you drop a mouse into a snake's cage, you expect him to be lunch.
You don't expect him to make it his cage.
And that's how the UFC marketed it. Renan Barao: the "Wrecking Ball." T.J. Dillashaw: the nice, young man with talent who would be eaten alive on Saturday.
Then the first round happened. Dillashaw confidently dancing in and out on Barao with hands down, switching stances. Flooring him with a right hand late in the round. Nearly choking him out. Nodding approvingly as he walked to his corner.
It was pretty much just like that for nearly 25 minutes. Barao, a man who hadn't lost in nearly 10 years, couldn't even claim tiny victories within a round. All the while, members of Team Alpha Male hugged, partied and high-fived in the front row.
Dillashaw had an unwavering sense of confidence from the opening seconds of the fight, but it grew every minute he was in the cage. He captivated a crowd of 11,036, most of which (truth be told) expected very little of him going in.
Backstage after the event, the party continued for Team Alpha Male as it escorted Dillashaw from one on-camera interview to the next. Joseph Benavidez asked (rhetorically) whether I had ever seen a challenger handle a champion so easily. Urijah Faber questioned my intelligence for picking Barao. Chad Mendes handed out at least 16 bro hugs. They all shadowboxed at one point or another, and all sort of looked like they wished they could go shirtless.
It was a fun night to be a fight fan in Las Vegas.