What are the odds? Two consecutive events, UFC 178 and now UFC 177, have both been plagued with last minute title shot contender changes due to injuries. On a card that was already among the least anticipated of the year, UFC 177 has now had a “very” last minute change to it’s main event.
Renan Barao dropped out of his bantamweight title rematch against T.J. Dillashaw this afternoon after passing out while cutting weight today. According to Brazilian outlet Combate, he was taken to a Sacramento hospital for treatment. Barao, obviously, didn’t show up for licensing or medicals with the California State Athletic Commission and in a rather surprising twist of fate, a source close to the event told Sherdog.com that former Bellator competitor Joe Soto (15-2) will now get the 135-pound bantamweight title shot against Dillashaw.
Just over three weeks ago, Soto fought in Lemoore, California at Tachi Palace Fights 20. He secured a victory against Terrion Ware with a north-south choke submission in the third round. After his win, Soto lobbied for a shot in the UFC and less than one week after he was paired with Anthony Birchak in a preliminary card match at UFC 177.
Unfortunately for Soto’s originally intended opponent, with the recent shuffle on the main card, Birchak will not compete on Saturday night. While some may question whether Soto deserves a shot at the title for his debut in the Octagon, it’s important to remember he’s a five-time Bellator veteran with a 15-2 professional MMA record and he’s coming into this matchup with Dillashaw on a six-fight winning streak.
While not to be ignored, Dillashaw upset Barao at UFC 173 securing the bantamweight title from the former champ in the 5th round via TKO. Fighting for Team Alpha Male, Dillashaw has a professional MMA record of 10-2, with his only losses coming at the hands of Raphael Assuncao (at UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. Shields) and John Dodson during the TUF 14 Finale.
A note to Renan Barao, we hope you get well soon, and once you do, please read our article on 5 ways to cut weight “safely”!