Barao forced to withdraw from UFC 177; Dillashaw now faces Joe Soto


The rematch between former champion Renan Barao and current champion TJ Dillashaw for the UFC Bantamweight title, due to take place in Sacramento, California tomorrow night has been cancelled. Instead, Joe Soto, who was due to fight Anthony Birchak on the undercard, steps in to face Dillashaw for the strap on just over a day’s notice.

Reports from Brazilian based Globo suggest that Barao was taken ill during his weight cut. The Brazilian was subsequently hospitalized and removed from the title fight.

In steps Joe Soto (15-2) for his UFC debut in the biggest of fights. Fighting out of the central valley combat academy in Porterville, California the twenty seven year old has an impressive record. Soto has only gone to a decision once in his career with 8 submission and 5 KO wins. If he has any chance tomorrow night, it may be an early finish.

It’s an extremely unusual first title defence for TJ Dillashaw (10-2) who was looking to seal his place as a UFC champion over the man he so easily dispatched earlier this year. Now he has a whole different task.

Finalised card:

T.J. Dillashaw (c) vs. Joe Soto
Tony Ferguson vs. Danny Castillo
Bethe Correia vs. Shayna Baszler
Ramsey Nijem vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira
Yancy Medeiros vs. Damon Jackson

Lorenz Larkin vs. Derek Brunson
Ruan Potts vs. Anthony Hamilton
Chris Wade vs. Cain Carrizosa

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook