With Renan Barao (32-2, 1 NC) pulling out of the UFC 177 Main Event after passing out during the weight cut, TJ Dillashaw (10-2) will now defend his UFC Bantamweight Championship against Joe Soto (15-2). The news broke out on Twitter that Barao would not compete Saturday night before SportsCenter revealed that Soto would take his place.
Originally, Soto was scheduled to face fellow promotional newcomer, Anthony Birchak, at UFC 177. Now “One Bad Mofo” goes from making his UFC debut on the televised prelims to fighting for the title in the main event of a Pay-Per-View in his first fight. No replacement has been announced for Birchak as of yet.
Soto is on a 6-fight winning streak. However, he hasn’t competed at 135 lbs until earlier this year when he became Taichi Palace Fights’ Bantamweight Champion. He was the first Bellator Feathweight Champion after winning the first tournament. Soto holds notable wins over Chad George, Diego Saraiva, and Wilson Reis.
Dillashaw won the UFC Bantamweight Championship back in May at UFC 173 from Barao. He had the opportunity to prove it wasn’t a fluke in the rematch. Unfortunately, that has been delayed with twenty-four hours to go after Barao pulled out. The Team Alpha Male prospect holds wins over Mike Easton, Hugo Viana, and Vaughan Lee, and was a finalist on the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter.
The loss of Barao wasn’t the only blow they suffered on weigh-in day. Henry Cejudo was also deemed unable to compete against Scott Jorgensen.
UFC 177 has suffered many blows in the weeks leading up to the event. Justin Edwards, who was scheduled to fight Yancy Medeiros, pulled out with a week to go and was replaced by Legacy FC Featherweight Champion, Damon Jackson. The UFC Flyweight Championship Bout between Demetrious Johnson and Chris Cariaso was also set for UFC 177. However, after Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier was rescheduled to January, Johnson vs. Cariaso was moved to headline UFC 178.
Despite the many changes to UFC 177, the show will go on at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento on Aug. 30. Danny Castillo vs. Tony Ferguson will co-headline the card.