UFC 177 will provide the lighter weight classes with another chance to showcase their skills, as title fights in the bantamweight and flyweight divisions headline the evening's main card. But the Aug. 30 event, to be held in Sacramento, California, is not exactly creating a buzz within the MMA world.
There's at least some intrigue about UFC 177's main event, a rematch between T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao, with fans wanting to see if Barao can respond to the shellacking he took at UFC 173.
The same cannot be said of the co-main event, where Demetrious Johnson defends his title against Chris Cariaso. It's an odd selection that UFC President Dana White explained in the "Dana Download" on UFC.com. White said:
The problem is that there is no doubt the fight everybody wanted to see would be John Dodson, but he's hurt. Ian McCall just fought, Johnson knocked out [Joseph] Benavidez, and he beat John Moraga. People are going to bitch about Demetrious Johnson no matter who we put him in there against. Eventually, he'll just have to keep knocking people out left and right and then he'll earn his respect.
It's true that a rematch with Dodson is the fight to make for Mighty Mouse, but Dodson is on the shelf after suffering a knee injury. As White pointed out, there aren't a lot of viable options for Johnson to face in his next title defense.
But there are a couple of options the UFC missed out on.
Zach Makovsky is set to square off against Jussier Formiga on Aug. 16 in a pivotal battle of top flyweight contenders. Either one of these fighters would've made for a better selection than Cariaso.
Makovsky, at No. 9, is ranked one slot below Cariaso, but Makovsky is also a former Bellator bantamweight champion and has a win over a well-known fighter in Scott Jorgensen. Formiga is sitting at No. 6 and actually owns a win over Cariaso.
While it's true that Makovsky and Formiga are scheduled for a fight, so too was Cariaso before being bumped into a title fight. There are a number of issues that could've prevented Makovsky and Formiga from rescheduling to UFC 177 (maybe a wedding?) but just looking at the information that's available now, it's odd the UFC would choose Cariaso out of that trio to face Johnson.
Fans will point to Dillashaw's upset win at UFC 173 over Barao as evidence of guys who shouldn't have been in title fights pulling off miracle upsets. But that's a big thing to expect from Cariaso when the opponents he's faced in the UFC's flyweight division are just 1-8 in the promotion.