The Ultimate Fighting Championship heads back into the California sun, as Sacramento will host the UFC 177 card live on pay per view. The card is being held down by one of California’s own and current bantamweight champion, T.J. Dillashaw; as he defends his belt against a new comer in Joe Soto at Sleep Train Arena. The Dillashaw versus Barao match up was scrapped within hours before the weigh ins kicked up, with Soto stepping up to the plate and saving the main event. The prelims will kick the event off at 8 pm EST, followed by the main card on pay per view at 10 pm EST. The organization has continuously lost fighters and fights throughout being scheduled, and is now down to eight total fights on the night. 177 will not go down without a fight though, as it has been scratching and clawing to keep the card alive through all the trials and tribulations. The odds are stacked high against Soto, tune in to see if Dillashaw can avoid the monumental upset.
[C] T.J. Dillashaw (11-2) vs. Joe Soto (15-2) Bantamweight Title Bout – Another unfortunate blow to the 177 card, Renan Barao has dropped out of the title fight against Dillashaw, with reasons not disclosed to the public as of yet. Contrasting reports say the former champion has been dealing with issues through his weight cut, but nothing has been confirmed by the promotion. In hours notice, bantamweight Joe Soto will take Barao’s place and fight Dillashaw for the title, in which will also be his debut inside the octagon. Unknown among the public anticipating the Barao rematch, Soto sports quite an impressive finish to decision ratio, holding only decision to his resume with 14 finishes. True, his record does not have many notable names to mention, but one can not underestimate someone who has yet to be seen. Dillashaw still heads into this as a favorite, and barring any sort of setbacks, should take this win with ease. If a betting man wants to test the odds, this could be the one to track. T.J. Dillashaw via Technical Knockout.
Tony Ferguson (16-3) vs. Danny Castillo (17-6) Lightweight Bout – Another Sacramento based fighter hits the stage in the main event, as Danny Castillo looks to make rise up the rankings, trying to knock off a former “The Ultimate Fighter” winner in “El Cucuy” Tony Ferguson. Both fighters are peaking at the right time, and the winner could possibly make a move into the lightweight rankings. Ferguson is the stronger and the more physically gifted fighter out of the two, but does have a habit of being too reckless, and could walk into a heavy shot from Castillo. Ferguson has the complete package to be something more in the lightweight division if he can put it all together. Ferguson is rangey with his striking, a former division II wrestling champion, and can throw some powerful leg kicks. Castillo carries that veteran savvy into the cage, and sly veteran can always carry a trick or two up their sleeves, so who only knows what Castillo has planned for his foe. Do not look too far into that though, Ferguson should be able to establish his pace early on in the fight. Tony Ferguson via Unanimous Decision.
#10 Bethe Correia (8-0) vs. Shayna Baszler (15-8) Women’s Bantamweight Bout – The “Four Horsewomen” send another to the cage, as Shayna Baszler will look to get her team off the snide here against an opponent who has already dismantled one of the group in Bethe Correia. Baszler is grizzled veteran of the cage and will look to take down Correia at all costs, in order to get this fight exactly where she wants it. Baszler may have the experience, and could very well be the more complete fighter; but Correia exceeds in natural ability and raw talent. A fine tuned Bethe Correia is a very dangerous one, if she is able get by yet another Ronda Rousey teammate, a match up with the champion could come quite soon for the Brazilian. Bethe Correia via Unanimous Decision.
Ramsey Nijem (10-4) vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira (10-0) Lightweight Bout – Very interesting to see how an undefeated record sways some in such ways. Ferreira was real impressive in his debut for the UFC, finishing off a former “The Ultimate Fighter” winner in Colton Smith, but when watching some of his old matches, then Texas native leaves quite a few holes to exploit. Granted he did not allow Smith the time to do so, if Nijem can stay patient though, he may be able to be the man who can take Ferriera’s “0” off his record. Once more less known as a grappler, Ramsey Nijem has displayed an ever improving Muay Thai Kickboxing in his last few bouts, in which could work to his advantage with Ferreira’s limited movement in the striking game. Ramsey Nijem via Technical Knockout.
Yancy Medeiros (9-2) vs. Damon Jackson (9-0) Lightweight Bout – Aggressiveness, relentlessness, and perseverance are the keys for Damon Jackson, as the highly touted prospect out of Legacy FC takes a nine days notice fight at a higher weight to make his dream come true, debuting in the UFC against Yancy Medeiros. Jackson could use a little more experience in the striking side of things, but once this young man gets it on the ground, the constant pressure he can provide proves time and time again too much for his opponents. Medeiros is full of potential, but in one form or another, has not officially won a fight since 2010, with this being his first fight of the year. Medeiros has a definitive advantage on the feet if he can keep it there, but can be taken down by an aggressive opponent like Jackson. Damon Jackson via Submission.
In other notable bouts, Olympic Gold Medalist, Henry Cejudo had to bow out of his bout against Scott Jorgensen, citing health complications as the reason. Speculation has it is that Cejudo was once again struggling with his weight cut, something in which he has had trouble with in many fights; Cejudo may just have to accept the inevitable and move up to the 135 lb. division, Dana White and company do not take numerous weight misses too fondly. A fight worth noting though, formerly ranked Lorenz Larkin takes on Derek Brunson in the middleweight division, winner may make crack the top 15 in their weight class.
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Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Voice sports writer leading the coverage in MMA