The UFC makes its return to Sacramento, California tonight for an event that has been described by UFC commentator Joe Rogan as “the haunted card” — for its revolving door of scheduled talent.
But haunted or no, UFC 177 will go down tonight at Sleep Train Arena, with Sacramento’s own TJ Dillashaw defending his UFC bantamweight title against promotional newcomer Joe Soto in the main event.
Also on the show, Dillashaw stable-mate Danny Castillo will meet Tony Ferguson in a lightweight clash, and Bethe Correira will fight Shayna Baszler in a women’s bantamweight bout.
The event begins at 8 pm EST/5 pm PST with three preliminary bouts before the PPV card begins two hours later. We will have full play-by-play coverage.
Please join us, and press refresh often for the latest update!
Preliminary card (televised on Fox Sports 1):
Lightweights: Chris Wade vs. Cain Carrizosa
Two guys labeled prospects. 7-1 Wade is a wrestler from Long Island, NY. The +110 underdog 6-0 Carrizosa is of Visalia, CA — that’s in the San Joaquin Valley if you’re curious, not too far from Stockton.
Round One: Beautiful hip throw takedown from Wade, right into scarf hold. Carrizosa tries to roll out, scrambles to his feet, and Wade riding him leaning down, looking to take the back. Wade transitions beautifully to guillotine and puts Carrizosa to sleep!!!
Chris Wade defeats Cain Carrizosa by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:12 of round one.
Dana White getting classy on Twitter:
@laralec STFU dork, who asked u to buy it? Did I ask u to buy tonight's card? U don't want to watch fights tonight then rent The Notebook
— Dana White (@danawhite) August 31, 2014
We’ve got two fights to kill the next hour and 40 minutes. Dana rails on MMA media who describe this show as not PPV worthy. Still, other than describing the fighters as working hard, he doesn’t really offer a retort.
Heavyweights: Ruan Potts vs. Anthony Hamilton
34 year old, 12-3 Hamilton is a Seattle native now fighting with Jacksons MMA in NM; he boasts a collegiate wrestling background and a BJJ brown belt. 8-2, 36 year old Potts is originally of South Africa and enters about a two-to-one underdog.
Round One: Potts looking for kicks, Hamilton with a body lock and slams Potts down. Potts escapes. Hamilton eats a right hand and clinches up. Potts tumbles to the mat trying a throw, but Hamilton backs away rather than engage the guard. Back up, Hamilton lands a hard uppercut in a punching exchange. 1-2 from Hamilton. Big double leg from Hamilton. Two minutes left, Hamilton in Potts’ half guard. A few little shot, and Hamilton steps out of the guard again. Hamilton with the takedown as Potts tries securing a guillotine. Hamilton steps away again. The crowd getting restless with this tactic. Potts lands a leg kick standing. Time expires on a 10-9 Hamilton round, despite the passivity.
Round Two: Hamilton with another takedown, and stands back up again. Potts with awkward standup and Hamilton passive. Rogan surmises Potts was injured on the botched takedown. Hamilton rushes in for another takedown. Potts trapped in his half guard. Big punches to the body from Hamilton. Ugly hematoma on Potts’ ribs. They just pour on, while Potts does nothing to defend. Ref steps in.
Anthony Hamilton defeated Ruan Potts by TKO (punches) at 4:17 of round two.
I’m concerned that Potts was not mentally in this bout, as he reported his father’s sudden death earlier this month on his Facebook. Rogan’s theory that Potts was injured is also possible.
Middleweights: Lorenz Larkin vs. Derek Brunson
Riverside, CA’s Larkin is 14-3 overall, but only has a 1-3 UFC record. He scored a quality win over Robbie Lawler back in his Strikeforce days. He’s a minor (+120) underdog against North Carolina’s 11-3 Brunson, who was a D2 All-American wrestler.
Round One: The two clinch against the cage and stalemate. Crowd boo’s, they disengage. Larkin with a nice right, front kick to the body. Brunson shoots in, Larkin stuffs it. They clinch to the cage again, and the Sac-Town boo-birds are out. Brunson looking for guillotine and it looks deep. Larkin goes to his back to defend it and slips away. Punches by Brunson, briefly looking for back. Larkin re-positions guard. Body shots from Brunson, Larkin looking for rubber guard. 10-9, Brunson.
Round Two: Tepid standup, then Larkin with a good body kick. Bruson shoots in and gets the takedown. Brunson in side control, then half guard. Larkin closes full guard. Brunson looking to pass, hitting a few punches to the head. Larkin scrambles to his feet — Brunson looking for back. Larkin escapes. Big hand combo and knee strike. Brunson with takedown. Larkin almost elevates him overhead to escape, but no dice. I don’t think Brunson did enough there. 10-10. He’ll probably get the round through.
Round Three: Great trip to finish a takedown by Brunson. Larkin gets half guard. Brunson looking for arm triangle. Light ground and pound from Brunson. Larkin looking for a leg lock. Brunson with smothering g’n’p now, keeping strong top control. 10-9, Brunson.
Derek Brunson defeats Lorenz Larkin by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Main Card (PPV broadcast):
Lightweights: Yancy Medeiros vs. Damon Jackson
26 year old Jackson is 9-0, all finishes. He usually fights featherweight, but stepped up here when the UFC called. His opponent Medeiros, of Hawaii, is also 26 and a -125 favorite.
Round One: Yancy with a good body kick and right hook to begin. Straight right lands from Medeiros. Overhand right into a double leg shot from Jackson. They clinch to the cage. They exchange knees to the body. Halfway through the round now. Medeiros knee lands low, and we briefly break. Jackson going for the same overhand to double leg and we end with the same clinch to the cage. They tumble to the mat and come up swinging. Big left hooks from Medeiros land hard. Slow standup to finish. 10-9, Medeiros.
Round Two: Jackson with a leg kick, then a head kick. Medeiros fluid with hand combo’s to head and body. Jackson cut, shoots for the takedown, and we’re back against the cage. Medeiros with a guillotine in a weird position — almost the “bulldog” choke, but turned away from his opponent… Jackson taps!
Yancy Medieros defeats Damon Jackson by submission (reverse bulldog/guillotine) at 1:54 of round two.
Lightweights: Ramsey Nijem vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira
26 year old Nijem was a TUF13 finalist who had a great showing at the Abu Dhabi UFC. BJJ black belt Ferreria, 29, is 10-0, just beat Colton Smith in less than a minute with a rear naked choke. Born in Brazil but now fighting out of TX, Ferreira’s a -220 favorite here.
Round One: Nijem comes strong with punches. Ferreira with a right hand counter. Nijem with the more effective hand combo’s. Good left hook by Ferreira in an exchange. Nijem with a double leg takedown. Ferreira escapes. Big 1-2s from Nijem stagger Ferreira. Big takedown from Nijem. Ferreira escapes, lands a big right. Ferreira follows him to the mat and attacks with Kimura, then triangle. Nijem out, they scramble again. Nijem outlanded him but I think Ferreira takes it, narrowly, by hurting him twice. 10-9 Ferreira.
Round Two: Ferreira clubs Nijem with a right as he advances, lands hammerfists as Nijem tries for a leg, then transitions into guillotine. Nijem escapes and stands out of Ferreira’s guard as the Brazilian attacks with submissions. Back up and BIG RIGHT HAND from Ferreira, right on the chin! Ferreira pounces on a downed Nijem and the ref steps in!
Carlos Diego Ferreira defeats Ramsey Nijem by TKO (punches) at 1:53 of round two.
Women’s Bantamweights: Bethe Correia vs. Shayna Baszler
34 year old Baszler is a women’s MMA pioneer with a record of 15-8. Correira is , of Brazil and recently defeated Baszler’s pal Jessamyn Duke. Wallid Ismail corners, great to see him again. Correira is a -160 favorite.
Round One: Baszler looking for Thai clinch. Correira winds her to the mat, Baszler looking for half guard, then full closed guard. Baszler looking for triangle, some punches and elbows while the shoulders are locked up. Baszler trying to transition to armbar. Correira stands out of trouble. Back up, Correira trying to establish a jab. Baszler looking for the single leg as she backs Correira against the cage. Correira sprawls out of a double, Correira with some elbows to the head and back. Baszler completes the takedown, then looks for guillotine in transition. 10-9 Baszler.
Round Two: Nice hand combo’s from Correira. Baszler ties her up, knee to the body from Baszler. Big elbow, followed with big body shots! Correira with more hand combo’s, right-left-right-left. Baszler looking like a heavy bag! Ref steps in.
Bethe Correia defeats Shayna Baszler by TKO (punches) at 1:56 of round two.
Lightweights: Tony Ferguson vs. Danny Castillo
17-6 Sacramento boy Castillo has the crowd support, but 16-3 Ferguson, of Orange County, is a -275 favorite. LW is probably the deepest division in MMA.
Round One: Ferguson slips away from a Castillo shot. Both guys looking to establish jab. Ferguson slips looking for a leg kick. Nice right from Ferguson. Ferguson slips a punch, lands a right. Ferguson spins to a D’Arce choke. Castillo finally escapes, only a minute left. They scramble as time expires. 10-9, Ferguson.
Round Two: Crowd chanting for Castillo but he’s still getting out-landed. Inside leg kick by Ferguson finding its mark. 1-2’s, big knee from Ferguson. Inside leg kick. Castillo in on a single — Ferguson looks to roll to leglock but no dice. Castillo lands in Ferguson’s half guard in a scramble. Ferguson looks for a guillotine after rolling out, pushing off the cage… but Castillo escapes his head. Ferguson looking for elbows from the bottom. Castillo not active on top. 10-9 Ferguson.
Round Three: Castillo with a shot, Ferguson sprawls out. Ferguson with an acrobatic roll to a knee bar. Castillo avoids and looks for a hammer fist. Ferguson tries to scramble to his feet, but Castillo ends on top. Castillo looking for the back, then gets a solid takedown. Ferguson back to his feet, gets taken right back down. Ferguson looking for elbows, then a triangle, Castillo escapes and steps forward into half guard. Castillo holding him in guard now, but not much offense. Castillo rides out the round looking for the arm triangle. 10-9, Castillo.
I figure the judges will score it for Castillo for being on top, but I don’t think he did enough there. But… surprise…!
Tony Ferguson defeats Danny Castillo by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Bantamweights: T.J. Dillashaw vs. Joe Soto
Main event time. Should Soto pull off the upset, Rogan says, it would be the greatest Cinderella story in MMA history. Dillashaw gets a big ovation from his hometown crowd.
Round One: Dillashaw switch stances, gets a footsweep. Soto bounces up, looks for a shot. Dillashaw maneuvers to his back, gets body triangle there. Soto scrambles to his feet. Dillashaw misses a high kick. Soto looks for a single leg. Right glances from Soto. Soto misses with left. Body kick from Dillashaw. Dillashaw with a little cut. Right hand by Dillashaw, great inside leg kick from Soto. 10-9 Dillashaw, but it’s competitive.
Round Two: Soto counter-punching well, darting about with rights. Dillashaw answers with a good combo including uppercut. Knee to the chin from Dillashaw. Dillashaw with a series of pitter-patter punches, the much more active. Soto with a jab here and there but out-landed with regularity now. Dillashaw with a clinch knee. Dillashaw backpedaling as the round concludes. 10-9, Dillashaw.
Round Three: Dillashaw aggressive with punching combo’s. Soto trying to counter with his jab but starting to look a little overwhelmed. Soto shoots in but Dillashaw sprawls out. Kick to the body form Dillashaw. Dillashaw with a double leg takedown. Hammer-fists from TJ as Soto rocks back for armbar. Soto scrambles up. TJ with more punching combo’s, 1-2, 1-2-3. Nice jab from Soto, but too little. The round wears on as they dart back and forth with combo’s, mostly missing. 10-9, Dillashaw.
Round Four: Wash-rinse-repeat. Dillashaw with combo’s, ending with body kicks, switching back and forth. Nice inside leg kick from Dillashaw. Soto trying to answer with his hands. UFC stats seem to have TJ out-landing 3 to 1, but I think they’re counting a lot of blocked punches. Double leg from TJ. Soto looks for De La Riva guard momentarily, then rubber guard. He escapes in a scramble. TJ with a body kick glancing as time expires. 10-9 Dillashaw.
Round Five: Good head kick from Dillashaw. Both guys bouncing in and out. Dillashaw misses a punching combo. Soto is bleeding from that kick. Dillashaw hits a big head kick! Soto crumbles to the mat. Hammer-fists from TJ as the ref steps in. It’s over!
TJ Dillashaw defeats Joe Soto by TKO (kick and punches) at 2:20 of round five.
That’s all for UFC 177. Thanks for joining us!