In the most unexpected of circumstances, 24 hours before the event, UFC 177 has a new main event. Renan Barao injured himself while trying to make weight on Friday and was pulled from the event under doctor’s orders. Joe Soto, a 15-2 former Bellator Featherweight Champion who was making his UFC debut on the undercard, has stepped up for the chance of a lifetime to take Barao’s place and fight against TJ Dillashaw for the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Can the ultimate unknown underdog shock the world? Here are my UFC 177 predictions.
UFC Bantamweight Championship: TJ Dillashaw vs Joe Soto
To the uneducated fan and even most educated fans, one would assume that Dillashaw is going to steamroll through Soto and collect a quick paycheck, but let us look at the facts: Soto is a former Bellator Champion, has a very respectable record in 15-2, he’s an eight-year veteran,13 of his 15 wins are finishes and he’s on a six fight win streak. Now does this mean that Soto is going to win? Not likely. However, this is what’s so exciting about this sport. For every fan that was pissed off at Barao’s exit from the fight, there is another fan who knows that anything can happen on any given night. Just like Soto is unprepared for Dillashaw, Dillashaw also is unprepared for Soto. However, while I do believe this will be an interesting fight, it’s hard to pick against the champion. I predict a Dillashaw victory and a finish.
Prediction: TJ Dillashaw
Tony Ferguson vs Danny Castillo
To the average fan, this does not look like a must-see matchup, but the skillset of the two is so closely related that it very well could be matchup of the night. Castillo will have the hometown advantage fighting in Sacramento as well as an experience advantage. Ferguson I believe has the more explosive power and has definite knockout ability. While this fight is close to call as far as skillsets go, I think Ferguson’s power will be the deciding factor.
Prediction: Tony Ferguson
Bethe Correia def Shayna Baszler
Ramsey Nijem def Carlos Diego Ferreira
Damon Jackson def Yancy Medeiros
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