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UFC 177: Dillashaw vs Soto Results - Sunday Perspective

UFC 177 was a card that was labelled as cursed, and for good reasons, and while it was a card that was short of high level fighters, it had some entertainment value.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC 177 card was ravaged by injury, weight cutting issues, and fight cancellations. It will be held up as an example, likely for years to come, as one of the most depleted cards in the history of the promotion. In terms of PPV buys, it is unlike to do well as this weekend was the first in the college football season in the United States, a sport which draws huge interest from the casual sports fan and drowned out any buzz this card may have had.

But in all that, the UFC may have found something in that this PPV card ended up being only eight fights long. While the pacing on FS1 was rough due to the two hour time block originally set aside for four fights being filled with only three fights, once the PPV hit the fights really rolled along. It might benefit the UFC to have their events wrapping up before 2 am EST. The vast majority of sports are trying to shorten their overall event times, while most UFC shows still run about 6 hours from first prelim to end of the main event. The UFC has already made efforts to cut down on card side, dropping down from 13 fight cards to around 10 fight cards, but with the intensive schedule the UFC is running perhaps running shorter shows would be a good move.

On to thoughts about the fights:

  • Joe Soto proved a much stiffer test in T.J. Dillashaw's first title defense than predicted. Soto's defensive work and sharp counters made Dillashaw have to work hard for his money last night, but in the late fifth round  Dillahsaw was able to breakdown Soto's defensive shell and land a head kick. Had it gone to the cards Dillashaw's high work rate and volume of strikes would have gotten his hand raised. Soto did land good offense through out the fight, but shelled up too often and wasn't able to string together offense to win rounds. It was a good fight, much better than expected, and a great showing for Soto.
  • This kind of fight is exactly why Jon Jones turned down Chael Sonnen on extreme short notice. Modern fighters rely a great deal on the preparation provided by developing a solid game-plan in camp. While many associated the term "game-plan" in MMA as a Greg Jackson devised plot to win an uninspired decision, the fact of the matter is that almost all successful MMA fighters tailor their camps to their opponents and a specific plan of attack. The style of attack that Dillashaw used to break down the far more successful and accomplished Renan Barao, struggled to make an impact against the more defensive minded Soto. Training for MMA is quickly evolving, gone are the "Just Scrap" days, but when that process is disrupted it can produce surprising results.
  • Tony Ferguson and Danny Castillo had a very entertaining match that mostly took place on the mat and featured some really interesting transitions and scrambles. The fight was extremly close, but in the end the California State judges made the correct call in awarding a Split Decision to Tony Ferguson. While many who watch and fight in MMA are programmed at this point to reflexively award rounds to the fighter on top, Ferguson was the far more active and aggressive grappler. He would consistently transition out of the bottom position and attack a submission. Castillo spent almost the entire match on the defensive and that should not win fights.
  • The level of athleticism in Women's MMA is quickly rising, and the result is the previous generation of fighters is getting phased out very quickly. Shayna Baszler is a trailblazer for the women's side of this sport, but it was extremely clear quickly in this fight she was at a disadvantage against the larger and more athletic Bethe Correia. Baszler is likely the superior technical grappler, but she was unable to leverage that into success and ended up trapped against the cage and taking a battering from Correia. This was a big win for Correia but she is still miles behind UFC Women's Bantamweigth Champion Ronda Rousey both in terms of technique and athleticism.
  • Carlos Diego Ferreira showed off why is one of the better prospects in the UFC right now. While primarily known as a grappler, he is able to generate good power counter striking while moving backwards, something Ramsey Nijem learned the hard way. Nijem tends to bullrush forward and eat shots, and Ferreira had the power to put him down several times, and got to show off a bit of his slick ground game. Ferreira is now 2-0 in the UFC, still under 30 and is a solid addition to the UFC Lightweight addition.
  • Yancy Medeiros was showing off some pretty sharp striking on the feet against UFC newcomer Damon Jackson. Then during a clinch exchange, Medeiros attacked a guillotine choke and Jackson attempted to spin himself out and ended up in a reverse bulldog choke. It was a very cool and unique finish to a fight.
  • Derek Brunson won a decision over Lorenz Larkin in a match up of former Strikeforce fighters. Brunson did not do much to set up his takedowns, shooting from far outside, but his clinch game was so superior to Larkin's it didn't really matter. Brunson as able to take Larkin down with ease and then grind him out on the ground. For Larkin this is a tough loss to a fighter who presents huge stylistic problems to him, but for Brunson this isn't the kind of statement win he needed to make to be considered a possible contender at Middleweight.
  • Chris Wade hit a hybrid arm triangle/arm-in guillotine choke on Cain Carrizosa, after hitting an excellent headlock throw. Wade's grappling looked excellent in a dominating performance, It was both fighter's UFC debut, but Wade's aggression, physicality, and technique looked like he is a fighter to watch moving forward.

For more MMA and Grappling analysis, history, technique, and discussion be sure to follow T.P. Grant on Twitter or Facebook.