Now that the dust is settled from one of the most problematic UFC events in history, and the fights are all in the books, a few fighters stood out above all the rest. Prior to the event, some media outlets went out of there way to tell fans not to buy the card on pay per view, but that didn’t stop the combatants from leaving it all in the cage. Here are our three standouts from UFC 177.
Unless you were paying attention to the MMA scene in Brazil, you probably never heard of Correia until she stepped foot into the octagon for the first time at UFC Fight Night in Brisbane. She won her UFC debut over the highly acclaimed Julie Kedzie and four months later she picked up her second win in the octagon over Jessamyn Duke. The Duke fight set the table for a grudge match with another WMMA veteran Shayna Baszler, and Correia rose to the occasion. In the second round, Correia’s combinations started to pile up on Baszler, and before the round was a minute old she was working her over like a heavy bag. While Baszler never went down, Big John McCarthy had seen enough and stopped the fight seconds before the two minute mark. Correia called out UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in her post fight speech, and while she likely won’t get a crack at the title next, this win will get her a fight with someone in the top five. With a win there, Correia should get a crack at the title.
Some fans don’t realize the humongous favor Dillashaw did for the UFC on Saturday night in Sacramento. No one in the world would have faulted Dillashaw for not taking an 11th hour fight with Joe Soto. A loss could have derailed all of the momentum he has built up, and of course he would lose everything that comes along with a UFC title with a defeat. Soto wasn’t going away without a fight on Saturday, and Dillashaw obliged him. The two fought for four and a half rounds, and with just under three minutes left in the fight, Dillashaw landed a head kick and finished Soto off with strikes. Becoming a defending champion in the pressure cooker he was in is a notable achievement.
Soto was originally set to face Anthony Birchak, and as recently as weeks before the card he had been training with the man he stepped into the octagon with on Saturday. The easiest decision Soto ever made was answering yes when the UFC called and asked him to step in for Barao. If Soto was picked to pieces by Dillashaw, he would have had a rough uphill battle trying to get back into the title hunt, but he made a show of it. With a win on Saturday, Soto could have been the first person to a hold a UFC title and Bellator title. Soto showed a tremendous amount of heart, and most debuting fighters would have folded like a deck chair under the pressure he was under.
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