Injuries have plagued the UFC 177 fight card during the build-up to the event, and now even former champion and No. 1 contender Renan Barao has pulled out of his rematch with bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, according to UFC’s official website.
Barao will be replaced with Joe Soto (15-2).
While most MMA fans will be focused on whether Soto can upset Dillashaw the same way the champion upset Barao in their first fight, the most underrated battle of the night could be the women’s bantamweight bout between Bethe Correia and Shayna Baszler.
Here are the predictions for every match on the card and a focus on the undercard match most worthy of casual MMA fans’ attention.
|Weight Class||Fighter 1||Fighter 2||Predicted Winner|
|Bantamweight||T.J. Dillashaw (c)||vs.||Joe Soto||Dillashaw|
|Lightweight||Tony Ferguson||vs.||Danny Castillo||Castillo|
|Women's Bantamweight||Bethe Correia||vs.||Shayna Baszler||Correia|
|Lightweight||Ramsey Nijem||vs.||Carlos Diego Ferreira||Nijem|
|Lightweight||Yancy Medeiros||vs.||Damon Jackson||Jackson|
|Middleweight||Lorenz Larkin||vs.||Derek Brunson||Larkin|
|Flyweight||Scott Jorgensen||vs.||Henry Cejudo||Jorgensen|
|Heavyweight||Ruan Potts||vs.||Anthony Hamilton||Hamilton|
|Lightweight||Chris Wade||vs.||Cain Carrizosa||Wade|
Undercard Match of the Night: Bethe Correia vs. Shayna Baszler
Everything in the women’s bantamweight division goes through Ronda Rousey, but Dana White and UFC officials are doing everything in their power to build viable contenders to the champion’s throne.
Brazilian fighter Bethe Correia could be a serious threat if she can knock off Shayna Baszler.
Correia is one of the brightest championship contenders in the sport and has been on fire since debuting in the UFC. She has an overall record of 8-0 and has defeated Julie Kedzie and Jessamyn Duke since she joined the world’s top promotion.
As some fans may know, Duke and Baszler are members of Rousey’s Four Horsewomen group, and Correia has made it clear her plan is to take down anyone in her path of gold. By beating all of the fighters closest to Rousey, Correia is building the suspense and anticipation for an eventual bout with the champion.
When asked about a potential title fight if she wins at UFC 177, Correia spoke to Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com regarding what she would do to get a title shot and how no one will keep her from accomplishing her ultimate goal:
I’m not in the UFC to be just another fighter. I will get to the title one way or the other. I will get there. I want a title shot and I will get there by talking or fighting - or both. I want the title and nobody can stop me.
I think I deserve a title shot. I will be 3-0 in the UFC with another win. That’s my dream and that’s what I’m fighting for. Let them decide. If they think I deserve it, I will honor this chance and do a great show.
For Baszler, there is an element of the unknown. She has not fought in the UFC yet and has a mediocre 15-8 career record. The South Dakota native has gained notoriety as part of Rousey’s inner circle, but she will need to prove herself in the ring.
Who ya got?
Baszler has a background in wrestling and is dangerous on the ground. There are weaknesses in her game, though, as she showed in her submission loss to Alexis Davis in her final fight with Invicta.
On the other hand, Correia is a striker who loves to do her damage standing up. While both fighters have trained in each discipline preparing for this fight, the ultimate winner will be the one who can counter her opponent’s strengths the best.
Correia is the better all-around fighter and will earn the decision win.
*Stats via UFC.com.