In a bout he dubbed a title shot 'semi-final', Raphael Assuncao defied the oddsmakers and pulled the upset by earning a split decision over Team Alpha Male's T.J. Dillashaw in the opening main card bout at UFC Fight Night 29. The judges scored the bout 29-28 Dillashaw, 29-28 Assuncao, and 29-28 Assuncao.
In the first frame, Dillashaw struck first and scored a double, but Assuncao was able to get back up almost immediately. Dillashaw did most of the early striking, but did eat a series of counter left hook from the Brazilian throughout the frame. Of note, both fighters stayed active with movement and switched stances. Towards the end of the frame, Assuncao ate a head kick from Dillashaw, but was none the worse for wear. Off a failed takedown, Dillashaw also took the back and nearly submitted Assuncao, but the jiu-jitsu black belt escaped and ended the round on his feet.
Assuncao picked up where he left off in the second round and landed a left as he switched stances. Dillashaw tried to execute a double leg and ended up in a power guillotine, but managed to work out of it. The Brazilian then cracked Dillashaw with several left hooks just as he did in the first round. Dillashaw again briefly took the back of Assuncao, but the Brazilian quickly escaped and drilled the American with an uppercut off of the clinch break.
By the third round, by far the hardest to score, there was another caught kick from Assuncao, but he couldn't turn it into a takedown. Assuncao launched several takedown attempts, but Dillashaw stuffed them not once but twice. Assuncao then stuffed a shot from Dillashaw as the American tried to turn the tables. Both fighters landed hard left hooks and both fighters traded failed takedown attempts and winging shots.