SEE ALSO: Renan Barao Out of UFC 177
The card had been criticized for a lack of big-name fights with a main event that pitted Renan Barao in an immediate rematch with TJ Dillashaw, even though Dillashaw had dominated Barao to take the UFC bantamweight championship from him in May. That fight won’t even be happening after Friday’s weight-cutting meltdown forced Barao out.
UFC newcomer Joe Soto, who was supposed to debut against Anthony Brichak on the Fox Sports 1 prelims, stepped up, quite literally on a moment’s notice, to accept a shot at Dillashaw and his bantamweight belt.
Soto woke up, expecting that he’d only have to make 136 pounds for his preliminary bout, so the first thing running through his mind when he found out he’d be fighting for the championship was, “I better lose this pound. (So) I lost the pound and I’m ready to go. It’s unreal right now, but I trained for this. This is what I train for all day, every day.”
Dillashaw didn’t pull any punches on what he was thinking when he found out that Barao was out of the fight.
“He’s scared. He don’t want it,” exclaimed Dillashaw. “His coaches wanted it more than he did. It’s kind of funny, he’s never missed weight before.”
But whatever, Dillashaw is the champion, and he wasn’t about to back away from a challenge since the UFC was able to find a quick replacement.
“I’m a company many. I’ll beat whoever they put in front of me,” he said of Soto.
An Olympic Gold Medalist wrestler, Cejudo had his fight with veteran Scott Jorgensen scratched when he had to pull out of the bout, also with medical issues related to difficulty in cutting weight.
With Barao and Cejudo out, the fight card will continue with just eight bouts.
The co-main event features hometown fighter Danny Castillo, who has been under the Zuffa banner since the WEC days, steps into the Octagon to square off with The Ultimate Fighter 13 winner Tony Ferguson.
UFC 177 Official Weigh-in Results
Main Card (on Pay-Per-View)
TJ Dillashaw (135) vs. Joe Soto (135)
Tony Ferguson (155.5) vs. Danny Castillo (156)
Bethe Correia (135.5) vs. Shayna Baszler (135)
Ramsey Nijem (156.25) vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira (155.5)*
Yancy Medeiros (156.5) vs. Damon Jackson (155)*
Preliminary Card (on Fox Sports 1)
Lorenz Larkin (186) vs. Derek Brunson (186)
Ruan Potts (248) vs. Anthony Hamilton (255)
Chris Wade (155.5) vs. Cain Carrizosa (155.5)
*Ramsey Nijem and Yancy Medeiros were given two hours to get down to the 156-pound limit. Both Nijim and Medeiros made weight at 156 pounds on their second attempt.