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UFC 177 fight card primer: TJ Dillashaw vs Joe Soto

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Bloody Elbow presents a preview of UFC 177: Dillashaw vs Soto in our fight card primer series. Here we look at the main event: TJ Dillashaw vs. Joe Soto for the UFC Bantamweight title.

Your main event
Your main event
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In the main event at UFC 177: Dillashaw vs Soto, UFC Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw (10-2 MMA; 6-2 UFC) puts the title on the line against... Joe Soto (15-2 MMA; UFC Debut). This five round title fight headlines the five fight UFC 177 main card. The UFC Rankings have Dillashaw at #11 on the pound for pound list. Oddly enough, challenger Soto is unranked. Weird. UFC 177: Dillashaw vs Soto airs live from Sacramento this Saturday, August 30. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at  8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

I mean, what is there even to say about this fight at this point? The entire UFC 177 card has been a disaster, with fights like Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson and Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso in and out of the main event slot. Eventually, we settled on TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao II - an interesting title fight rematch headlining an otherwise pretty bad show. Then, at Friday's weigh-ins, Barao passed out, was pulled from the card, and the debuting Soto stepped in for what is pretty clearly the worst main event in modern UFC history. What a mess.

How do these two stack up?

Dillashaw: 28 years old | 5'6" | 68" reach
Soto: 27 years old | 5'6"

What have these two done recently?

Dillashaw: W - Renan Barao (TKO) | W - Mike Easton (UD) | L - Raphael Assuncao (SD)
Soto: W - Terrion Ware (Sub) | W - Jeremiah Labiano (TKO) | W - Cory Vom Baur (Sub)

How did these two get here?

TJ Dillashaw came out of nowhere earlier this year to win the belt from Barao in a great fight. That was a massive upset, where Dillashaw showed tremendous improvements in his striking game and simply dominated Barao bell to bell. A Team Alpha Male product, Dillashaw clearly flourished under the tutelage of coach Duane "Bang" Ludwig, and was the favorite to repeat his winning performance against Barao. Shame that he is now forced to defend his belt like this.

How did Joe "One Bad Mofo" get here? Pure dumb luck. He was one of two Bantamweights on a card where the Bantamweight main eventer pulled out. That's it. Soto's big experience has been in Bellator and Tachi Palace Fights - he was actually on the very first Bellator event back in 2009. He has a good win over Wilson Reis, and was the first Bellator Featherweight champion. He also comes in on a 6 fight win streak. Soto is actually a good signing for the UFC who I was excited to see debut tonight - again, it's a shame that his UFC debut will now be met with such displeasure because of the circumstances.

Why should you care?

Because what if Joe Soto wins? Seriously.