The co-main event of UFC 177 features a lightweight contest between “El Cucuy” Tony Ferguson (15-3) and Danny “Last Call” Castillo (17-6).
Coming off winning TUF 13, Ferguson has been impressive, continually showing improvement in his bouts. 4-1 since winning the season, Ferguson finished his last two bouts–submitting Mike Rio and knocking out Katsunori Kikuno. His lone loss to Michael Johnson is what is keeping him from entering the UFC rankings, but a win over Castillo could do just that.
Danny Castillo was elated when he found out he was the co-main event of the card in his hometown of Sacramento. He is coming off a second round knockout victory over Charlie Brenneman and looks to carry that momentum and move into the next tier of the division. A winner in 3 of his last 4 bouts, with the lone loss coming against top 15 lightweight Edson Barboza.
Loud cheers for Castillo as he is introduced by Bruce Buffer, while Ferguson gets the boos from fans in the Sleep Train Arena.
The hometown would not be able to celebrate their guy’s victory, as Danny Castillo’s grinding style was not favored by the judge’s, who scored a close controversial decision for Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson shoves off an early takedown attempt from Castillo. Lands an inside leg kick, Ferguson does. Castillo firing off several shots, followed by a head kick that is partially blocked by Ferguson. While ‘El Cucuy’ continues to land the inside leg kicks successfully. Ferguson clips Castillo with a right hand, forcing him to shoot for the takedown. Ferguson defends and locks in a d’arce choke, dragging the fight to the mat. Ferguson on his back trying to finish the choke, Castillo defending with an arm between Ferguson’s legs, attempting to pop his head out. After a minute of struggle, Castillo is able to free himself and reign down punches from top. Castillo content to remain on top to end the round, as Ferguson lands ear slaps from the bottom.
Round begins with Castillo circling the outside of Ferguson’s reach, as the crowd begins to chant “DANNY! DANNY!”. Ferguson chasing Castillo aggressively, landing leg kicks to the inside leg. Danny able to land combinations with his hands as he circles to avoid the power of Ferguson. Castillo slipping around the octagon, trying this best to gain some traction to throw. Castillo goes for the takedown and the back of Ferguson, who rolls for a leg lock. Castillo ends up on top midway through the round.
Tony Ferguson uses the cage to sweep Castillo right into mount, but only for a brief second as Castillo is able to put him back on his back. Castillo sticking to Ferguson on the mat, not giving him any room to move, strong control from top, but no strikes being landed. Round ends with Castillo on top in guard.
Both fighters exchanging to being the final round, until Tony drops for a kimura attempt. Castillo defends and tries to get on top, Ferguson is doing his best to not be put on his back. But Castillo lands a takedown with the body lock, Ferguson tries to get back up, taken down for a 3rd time in the fight by Castillo. Ferguson landing elbows from his back, allows Castillo to advance to half guard. Danny Castillo continues to ground Ferguson but is not landing many strikes, looking to grind this one out.
Tony Ferguson is doing his best to squirm and find an opening to get back to his feet, but Castillo sticking to him. ‘Last Call’ gets a quick mount, and takes Ferguson’s back. Castillo goes for an arm-triangle with 10 seconds left in the fight and the horn goes off.
Tony Ferguson received more boos as the decision was read, winning on the judge’s scorecards by split decision: (28-29, 29-29, 29-28).
“Danny, we never leave it to the judges. No anamoesty between two wrestlers, even if I had won or loss, I would’ve shook your hand anyways,” Ferguson said of the controversial decision.
“When you lay on somebody like that and you’re not trying to pass, just look to chill there, the judges look at that,” Ferguson said. “I want to thank you guys for booing me, I fought the adversity.”
“I don’t think he landed any strikes on his feet, I toughed him up with my punches. When we went to the ground he wasn’t doing anything,” said an apologetic Danny Castillo
“If you can’t get up off your back, it’s not my fault. If we were in jail, he would be in trouble,” Castillo continued. “I controlled a grown man on his back, mom I love you. I’m sorry.”