UFC 177 Was Low on Star Power but Ended Up Being a Lot of Fun Anyway

In the end, if you were looking for the UFC’s brightest-shining stars, you were never going to find them at UFC 177. Not after The Curse waylaid Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson and Renan Barao and the rest.

It just wasn’t in the cards. The UFC didn’t set out to turn this into one of the least desirable cards in the history of the promotion, but it ended up that way because the company was spreading things thinly. This practice appears to be over, at least when it comes to pay-per-view events; next month’s UFC 178 card is lovingly filled with highly anticipated fights, including the UFC debut of Eddie Alvarez.

So, yeah. If star power is your thing, you weren’t going to tune in to this pay-per-view. But if you like watching fights and do not care if you really know anything at all about the people you’re watching in the fights, then you’re probably glad you sat down on the couch and plopped down some money for this one.

For starters, the whole thing kicked off with Yancy Medeiros choking out Octagon debutant Damon Jackson with one of the more brutal guillotine/bulldog-choke hybrids that you’ve ever seen. And by this, I mean it’s the only guillotine/bulldog hybrid you’ve ever seen.

Joe Rogan didn’t know what to call it, and Rogan knows just about everything. But regardless of the name (or if it’s even a real move), it was violent and left Jackson with his eyes wide open, staring the thousand-yard stare.

Then Carlos Diego Ferreira punched Ramsey Nijem in the face and sent him crashing to the canvas. More violence. You probably knew Nijem, and now you know Ferreira. He’s a great submission artist, and hey, it looks like he can punch, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Bethe Correia continued her pro wrestling-inspired walk through the Four Horsewomen by knocking out Shayna Baszler in the second round. Baszler looked sharp in the first round, and it appeared that Correia’s Dusty Rhodes/Sting run was over, but then youth and power and punching took over.

Correia doesn’t deserve a shot at Ronda Rousey just yet, but would anyone mind seeing her with a chance to complete her run through the Horsewomen? Maybe she’d last no longer than two minutes with Rousey. But maybe, and this is a long shot, but just maybe she’d have her own T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao moment. Because if there is one thing mixed martial arts has taught me in 2014, it’s that the unexpected shouldn’t really surprise us as much as it does. 

Anthony Ferguson and Danny Castillo put on a fun co-main event, with Ferguson pulling out video game sweep attempts and Castillo “controlling a grown man,” as he put it in his post-fight interview.

In the end, Ferguson scored a split decision, and then Castillo gave one of the most heart-wrenching post-fight interviews in the history of the world. OK, the interview wasn’t all that entertaining, but one could easily find amusement in watching Rogan scramble after Castillo asked him how he scored the fight.

And of course, there is Joe Soto. The man who was scheduled to make his UFC debut Saturday stepped in the cage instead for a world championship fight against a very good Dillashaw. It was likely the least star-studded main event in UFC history.

Soto was a massive underdog. I expected Dillashaw to walk right through Soto like a knife slicing through liquid butter.

My prognostication powers were once again proved subpar; Soto decided, instead, to make things interesting. Dillashaw won the fight, without question, but Soto lasted approximately 23 minutes longer than I expected him to before Dillashaw knocked him out late in the fifth.

And that, in and of itself, is far more than I expected on Friday when the news came down that Soto was filling in for the withdrawn Barao. Soto said afterward he didn’t want to die without getting his chance in the Octagon. Not only did he get his chance, but he made something of it. 

And maybe that’s the story of this event. It wasn’t the kind of fight card that makes you gather with your buddies. There were no genuine superstars flashing across your television screen.

But there were still some engaging fights, and if that’s the kind of thing you’re into, you didn’t go wrong when you decided to order UFC 177.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

UFC 177 Results: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card

In accepting a bout with Joe Soto on the shortest notice possible, T.J. Dillashaw risked his bantamweight championship—not a huge risk against a UFC newcomer but a risk nonetheless.

As expected, though, Dillashaw took care of business against Soto. In the UFC 177 main attraction, Dillashaw threw a tremendous volume of strikes and wore Soto down before finishing the unlikely challenger with a head kick and follow-up punches in the fifth round.

Now, Soto can look forward to a more reasonable climb up the 135-pound ladder. Dillashaw, meanwhile, should have tougher challenges coming his way.

Here are the matchups that should be next for Dillashaw, Soto and the rest of the UFC 177 competitors.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

UFC Chiding Dana White over Judge Removal Was a Nice, but Empty Gesture

To say that Dana White and the Ultimate Fighting Championship have gone through a tough couple of weeks would be quite the understatement.

Injury-riddled cards and fan opposition to “weak” events have stood out in headlines for the largest mixed martial arts promotion in the world. However, one of the most interesting stories of the last few weeks featured a move that Dana White made at UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Le. Snatching a judge from his post early in the night may have seemed like the right move to make at the time.

The UFC’s admonishment of White was the right move to make but in the end will be an empty gesture.

The situation began early in the card with two controversial victories. Milana Dudieva and Royston Wee walked out of the Octagon after winning two split decisions over their opponents. Much of the MMA community who commented on social media outlets such as Twitter felt the decisions went to the wrong fighters. During the post-fight press conference, White confirmed that he stepped in to remove a judge from his position for the night.

“Did you ask me sir, if it was true, that a judge was removed?” White said during the post fight press conference via Sherdog. “Yes, he was. He was involved in the first fight and the second fight. I told the guys to go let him grab some beer and some popcorn and go sit down and start watching some fights, not judging them.”

When the UFC travels to locales that do not have an athletic commission, they take the reins of regulating themselves in those situations. This means that they have the power to appoint judges to fights in these foreign events. Howard Hughes was the judge who was removed from his position by Dana White. According to MMA Decisions, a website that chronicles judging decisions in the sport, he provided two 29-28 scorecards in favor of Dudieva and Wee.

Hughes has frequently traveled with the UFC to judge foreign cards. This is the first time the UFC has acted in such a manner when it comes to managing the judges at their events.

MMA judging is one of the most controversial topics in the sport today. Still, the UFC did not condone White’s actions. In an official statement the organization admonished their president for his actions.

Pursuant to UFC’s protocol, neither White nor any other UFC executive possesses such authority. Nevertheless, protocol was breached and Hughes did not work further bouts on Saturday night…Both White and the UFC apologize to Mr. Hughes for calling his professional judgment into question. Hughes has judged more than 25 UFC fight cards and the UFC looks forward to him working on its events again in the future.

This is an effective statement from the promotion as a whole; however, true action has not been taken against White. There have not been any reports of official fines or sanctions being posed against one of the most well-known personalities in the sport. Dana should not expect to face such repercussions either, because he took a stance on one of the most controversial topics in the sport today.

Questionable judging has occurred multiple times within the sport and is now considered an expected occurrence at every event. White taking a stance against what he may have considered bad decision making might win him some new fans but still should not have happened.

Perception in combat sports is a reality that must be acknowledged. Bad decisions will often render complaints about fixed fights or other sinister actions within MMA. The fact that Dana White, who is a representative of the UFC, removed a judge because he delivered rulings that may not have been acceptable by the promotion creates a very questionable and slippery slope.

While it may not have been his intention, the perception may now be that the organization will remove judges who are unable to live up to their standards. With all the other issues posing the UFC at that time, this is a view that the organization cannot afford.

Yet that does not mean they will take action against one of the most important figures in the history of the sport.

Questionable judging will not leave the sport of mixed martial arts. Boxing has been a professional sport for centuries and to this day there are controversial decisions rendered at almost every event. Unfortunately for boxing, many fans question the validity of the results, and that same sentiment begins to creep into MMA.

Dana White’s actions were not meant to present this idea but the damage has been done. The UFC’s response was swift but could have been more forceful in a situation that can develop to be a real hindrance for the promotion.

 

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

Renan Barao’s Return: 3 Potential Opponents for Embattled Ex-Champion

The UFC might have absolutely adored Renan Barao a couple of months ago, but he now finds himself on “the list.” Not the good list, either. By withdrawing from UFC 177 following complications related to his weight cut, he has landed in Dana White‘s doghouse and out of title contention.

Still, Barao remains one of the best fighters in the UFC’s lower weight classes, and there is no reason to believe he won’t be back with a vengeance in the near future. With a title rematch opposite T.J. Dillashaw off the table, the question now is, who could be next for Renan Barao?

So let’s take a quick look at some of the potential opponents for the former champ’s return, shall we?

 

Winner of Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki

The winner of Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki is the logical next opponent for T.J. Dillashaw without a doubt. However, depending on how things pan out with the champ’s health (and depending on how the fight itself plays out), we could see Cruz or Mizugaki asked to face Barao in a likely top-contender match.

If Cruz wins in decisive fashion and is anywhere near as good as he was before his knee injuries, he will almost certainly be booked to face Dillashaw. However, if he isn’t quite as nimble as he used to be, or if his cardio fails him, a match with Barao both buys him more time to prepare for a title shot and gives the UFC time to reacquaint fans with Cruz.

On the other hand, if Mizugaki wins with anything short of a savage knockout of Cruz, he will almost certainly be tasked with facing Barao rather than moving on to a title shot.

In spite of the fact that Mizugaki is an accomplished veteran and on an impressive 5-0 run, he is a near-anonymous figure in the UFC at this point. The promotion has little financial incentive to move him to a title shot, and as such, a fight with Barao would make sense to further build him up or give Barao a logical fight before facing Dillashaw again.

Matchmaking logic aside, both of these fights are dreams for the technically minded fan and would make for a solid pay-per-view co-main event or UFC on Fox headline.

 

Winner of Raphael Assuncao vs. Bryan Caraway

A lot of the top bantamweights are booked right now, it seems…but anyway, Raphael Assuncao vs. Bryan Caraway is slated to go down in the co-main event spot at UFC Fight Night 54 (headlined by Rory MacDonald vs. Tarec Saffiedine). Whoever happens to win that bout, as with Cruz vs. Mizugaki, is a strong candidate to face Barao.

Obviously, the appeal of this fight is largely rooted in Assuncao being the logical top contender at 135 pounds courtesy of his 2013 win over Dillashaw (and his overall 6-0 record as a bantamweight). It’s silly that Assuncao has to restake his claim for this spot, but the UFC hasn’t been kind to him and the scheduling certainly hasn’t helped.

Caraway, meanwhile, is an unproven commodity but has long looked the part of an upper-level bantamweight.

While Barao vs. Cruz or Mizugaki would be a strong top-contender bout, Assuncao and Caraway largely serve as tuneup opponents for Barao. Caraway is pedestrian off the mat, and while Assuncao is solid all over the cage, Barao owns superior striking and wrestling. For the UFC, who would prefer Barao to be champion over Dillashaw, that makes this a solid option.

 

Cub Swanson

While Dana White didn’t harp on it too much, one of the many things he said while discussing Barao’s withdrawal from the fight was that he believed that Barao should consider a move to featherweight (and his teammate and friend, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, should mull over a move to lightweight).

While it’s unknown if Barao’s cut is a particularly difficult one or if this was a one-time incident, Barao moving to 145 pounds is a fun mental exercise.

There are plenty of potential opponents for him in the stacked 145-pound division. Chan-Sung Jung, Jeremy Stephens and Dennis Bermudez all come to mind. The most interesting potential matchup (short of a title fight with Aldo) would be against high-flying striker Cub Swanson.

Swanson essentially exists on a separate plane from other fighters when it comes to trading leather. He has reached that point where he can basically do whatever he feels like, from front-leg body kicks to all manners of spinning strikes, and it works more often than not.

Now…can you imagine what kind of fireworks he could put on against Renan Barao? Man, that would be fun.

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC

Ronaldo Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi: A Full Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Gegard Mousasi first met in the Dream 6: Middleweight Grand Prix final in 2008. 

Souza, predominantly known as a submission artist at the time, didn’t have much to offer against Mousasi in the striking department and fell victim to a TKO just two minutes into the bout.

The loss would go on to fuel Jacare enough to go undefeated in his next six bouts. The win would merely cement Mousasi as one of the better strikers the middleweight division had to offer. 

Set to rematch almost six years later, the two middleweights look to capture another victory before making a case to challenge for the middleweight crown. 

The first bout was fairly one-sided, but the sequel might not be. 

Read on to see how this fight breaks down. 

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Courtesy of :Bleacher Report – UFC