In the end, if you were looking for the UFC's brightest-shining stars, you were never going to find them at UFC 177. Not after The Curse waylaid Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson and Renan Barao and the rest.
It just wasn't in the cards. The UFC didn't set out to turn this into one of the least desirable cards in the history of the promotion, but it ended up that way because the company was spreading things thinly. This practice appears to be over, at least when it comes to pay-per-view events; next month's UFC 178 card is lovingly filled with highly anticipated fights, including the UFC debut of Eddie Alvarez.
So, yeah. If star power is your thing, you weren't going to tune in to this pay-per-view. But if you like watching fights and do not care if you really know anything at all about the people you're watching in the fights, then you're probably glad you sat down on the couch and plopped down some money for this one.
For starters, the whole thing kicked off with Yancy Medeiros choking out Octagon debutant Damon Jackson with one of the more brutal guillotine/bulldog-choke hybrids that you've ever seen. And by this, I mean it's the only guillotine/bulldog hybrid you've ever seen.
Joe Rogan didn't know what to call it, and Rogan knows just about everything. But regardless of the name (or if it's even a real move), it was violent and left Jackson with his eyes wide open, staring the thousand-yard stare.
Then Carlos Diego Ferreira punched Ramsey Nijem in the face and sent him crashing to the canvas. More violence. You probably knew Nijem, and now you know Ferreira. He's a great submission artist, and hey, it looks like he can punch, if you're into that sort of thing.
Bethe Correia continued her pro wrestling-inspired walk through the Four Horsewomen by knocking out Shayna Baszler in the second round. Baszler looked sharp in the first round, and it appeared that Correia's Dusty Rhodes/Sting run was over, but then youth and power and punching took over.
Correia doesn't deserve a shot at Ronda Rousey just yet, but would anyone mind seeing her with a chance to complete her run through the Horsewomen? Maybe she'd last no longer than two minutes with Rousey. But maybe, and this is a long shot, but just maybe she'd have her own T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao moment. Because if there is one thing mixed martial arts has taught me in 2014, it's that the unexpected shouldn't really surprise us as much as it does.
Anthony Ferguson and Danny Castillo put on a fun co-main event, with Ferguson pulling out video game sweep attempts and Castillo "controlling a grown man," as he put it in his post-fight interview.
In the end, Ferguson scored a split decision, and then Castillo gave one of the most heart-wrenching post-fight interviews in the history of the world. OK, the interview wasn't all that entertaining, but one could easily find amusement in watching Rogan scramble after Castillo asked him how he scored the fight.
And of course, there is Joe Soto. The man who was scheduled to make his UFC debut Saturday stepped in the cage instead for a world championship fight against a very good Dillashaw. It was likely the least star-studded main event in UFC history.
Soto was a massive underdog. I expected Dillashaw to walk right through Soto like a knife slicing through liquid butter.
My prognostication powers were once again proved subpar; Soto decided, instead, to make things interesting. Dillashaw won the fight, without question, but Soto lasted approximately 23 minutes longer than I expected him to before Dillashaw knocked him out late in the fifth.
And that, in and of itself, is far more than I expected on Friday when the news came down that Soto was filling in for the withdrawn Barao. Soto said afterward he didn't want to die without getting his chance in the Octagon. Not only did he get his chance, but he made something of it.
And maybe that's the story of this event. It wasn't the kind of fight card that makes you gather with your buddies. There were no genuine superstars flashing across your television screen.
But there were still some engaging fights, and if that's the kind of thing you're into, you didn't go wrong when you decided to order UFC 177.
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