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UFC 177: Dillashaw vs. Barao II - The Idiot's Guide to the Fox Sports 1 Preliminary Card

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Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo makes his debut, and fan favorite Lorenz Larkin spice up the undercard for a PPV that desperately needs it at UFC 177.

Can Henry Cejudo pull off something similar?
Can Henry Cejudo pull off something similar?
Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

Back to the grind. What are the chances Dana White pulls a judge from his duties on American soil?

Slim. Especially since even Dana has admitted to he went over the line.

Still, relieving a judge of his/her duties is not like punching a guy who just elbowed you in the back of the head or something. It requires foresight, and cunning. Dana didn't just act irresponsibly, and passionately. He deliberated those passions into a calculated abuse of power.

Can we talk about the main event instead?

Oh crap, this is a PPV isn't it?!

TJ Dillashaw rematches Renan Barao for an inexplicable opportunity to see if a 20+ minute thrashing was an anomaly.

Right. Well the main event is still interesting, even if it turns into another beatdown. Both guys are exciting, so there's that.

As for the undercarders...

This is the event promoting itself more by showing us Goldberg and Rogan hemorrhage in the commentary booth than seeing actual fight clips, right?

The one and hopefully only.

First up is Lorenz Larkin vs. Derek Brunson. An interesting fight because both guys are much better than the records indicate, but worse than our impressions assume.

Huh?

Well, Larkin will always be held to an unfortunate standard: a striking specialist who was able to outdual even Robbie Lawler, but who can't even catch a break against names like Costa Philippou now. We're all waiting for him to become Mirko Filipovic or something, and it just ain't happening. Nor will it ever. One of the things I've learned to lament in MMA is the loss of scale. Fighters used to suck enough in one aspect of MMA that you could always rely on an iconic beatdown when say, a really good striker fought a really good grappler. Now grapplers strike, and strikers grapple. The days of Igor Vovchanchyn vs. Francisco Bueno are over.

Wow. I had never seen that before. Did Bueno die before he hit the ground?

Certainly looks like it. Anyway, Larking is a fighter who reminds us that maybe there's still a vestige of said vintage violence, as he's clearly a guy who puts together combinations in a way that should make other fighters jealous. Still, only three losses means he deserves a chance to continue proving himself. After all, Philippou was in danger at intervals, and you have to wonder how things might have gone if Larkin was just a little more conservative. I felt like he was trying to do too much, and got caught being too aggressive.

Psh. Excuses.

Maybe. But Larkin deserves another shot. Especially since he should only have two losses on his record.

As for Brunson, he's a sleeper pick. A lot of people expected Yoel Romero to just walk through him, and instead the fight became a symbol for Brunson's underratedness, and an infomercial for Dude Wipes.

After all, Brunson absolutely wrecked Romero with a kick early in the feet that nearly decapitated him. Both are solid fighters, but I favor Larkin because I think Brunson will engage him enough to get pelted early and often. It may not be a pretty fight, but one guy will be getting a pink slip if he loses, and the other will be one fight away from a pink slip if he loses so the Spider desperation sense should kick in.

Who is this Henry Cejudo kid? I keep hearing all about what an amazing wrestler he is. Hype? or Hope?

Cejudo was the gold medal winner at the 2008 Beijing games. And not just any gold medal winner, but the youngest American wrestler.

Which means the UFC promos will be screaming "the YOUNGEST medal winner ever to compete in the Olympics!!" at us, then, right?

Probably. I'm pretty sure the UFC's promotional tools rely on an algorithm that hooks in directly to Dana White's limbic system.

If you haven't heard of Cejudo, learn more about him with Luke Thomas' excellent interview with the man from 2011. He's a very candid individual. Cejudo wanted to continue wrestling, and did try out for the 2012 games, but lost in the qualifiers, retiring to a rather emotional image. He's been very active since turning pro in 2013, but it hasn't been without controversy, having experienced weight issues for Legacy FC.

Scott Jorgenson vs. Henry Cejudo feels like a pretty tough debut for Cejudo. Jorgenson looked pretty good against Danny Martinez in his fight of the night performance, and he's been a staple of the WEC/UFC for years (going all the way back to 2008 to be exact).

In a way this feels like a decent fight for Cejudo. Scott isn't super dynamic, so I don't think Cejudo has to worry about flying armbars and jumping roundhouse kicks. Even though Cejudo has six fights on his pro record, he's only been active for a year. And like any newly minted specialist turned mixed martial artist, there's always something that needs fine tuning. I would argue that Henry has a lot of things figured out. He uses his wrestling to feint more than simply attempt arbitrary double legs and singles. He doesn't wrestle out of desperation. Instead he keeps his body moving. Even when he's not being offensive, he's never inert. For an inexperienced fighter like him, that's a big deal in my opinion.

He has a pretty quick right hand that he uses whenever he's switching levels so don't be surprised if he drops Scottie. It's possible the fight turns into a bouncy, jumpy dud. Cejudo has every reason to be nervous.