Report: Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso Booked for UFC 177 Co-Main Event

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2014

USA Today

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is set for a quick turnaround. While he successfully defended his belt just a few weeks ago at UFC 174, Johnson is now tabbed to defend his belt at UFC 177 opposite Chris Cariaso, according to Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole.

Cariaso is currently riding a three-fight winning streak, with victories over Iliarde Santos, Danny Martinez and Louis Smolka. He owns a 4-2 record in the UFC as a flyweight and was an above-average bantamweight before that.

May 10, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Chris Cariaso (red gloves) reacts to winning by split decision over Louis Smolka (not pictured) during a flyweight bout at US Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

The news that Cariaso was slated for the belt is somewhat surprising. This Saturday, Ian McCall and Brad Pickett face off in a crucial flyweight tilt. While the winner of that fight would have been a solid contender for the champ, the UFC instead opted for a sure thing in Cariaso.

After a solid run in World Extreme Cagefighting, Johnson became the UFC's first flyweight champion in 2012. In the time since, he has climbed his way up MMA's pound-for-pound rankings and cemented his status as one of the best fighters in the sport.

However, in spite of his technical brilliance, fans have been slow to accept him. While the UFC hoped that a brutal one-punch knockout of Joseph Benavidez had warmed up fans enough that he could carry a pay-per-view, reports that UFC 174 hovered around 100,000 buys mired an otherwise masterful victory over Ali Bagautinov.

UFC 177 will go down August 30 in Sacramento, California. The card is headlined by the silly rematch between UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and Renan Barao. While Barao, like Johnson, could scarcely draw crickets to chirp at his pay-per-view fights, the UFC is hoping that doubling up on champions will entice fans.

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