UFC 177 Preliminary Card Preview

UFC 177The list of bouts still on the docket for UFC 177 is almost the same length as the list of those which have fallen off.

  • Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso (Moved to UFC 178)
  • Ruslan Magomedov vs. Richard Odoms (Injury)
  • Yancy Medeiros vs. Justin Edwards (Injury)
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Scott Jorgensen (Weight cut issues)
  • TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao (Weight cut issues)
  • Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak (Soto moved to main event)

It’s amazing that after all these issues that the card is still even happening. Although to be honest, it’s not much of a card. TJ Dillashaw is the only top ten ranked fighter left on the entire UFC 177 card (Bethe Correia is ranked 10th, but with the champion that puts her 11th overall in the division). Before the pay-per-view card even starts, there are only three preliminary bouts. You have to go back more than 100 UFC numbered events, to UFC 72 — a throwaway PPV in the summer of 2007 — to find a PPV card with as few fights on it as tonight’s card. The preliminary card has been decimated down to three fights across a two-hour timeslot on Fox Sports 1, so we should be in store for plenty of analysis from “the desk” telling us how Joe Soto shouldn’t be overlooked as a title challenger in a bout that has somehow exceeded the lopsided nature of even next month’s Demetrious Johnson versus Chris Cariaso headliner. In between those segments of hot air, there will be a few fights. The lead-in to the main card is actually a pretty solid bout between middleweights Derek Brunson (11-3) and Lorenz Larkin (14-3, 1 NC). As with the majority of the bouts on UFC 177, the line has remained fairly close for this one, with Brunson a -155 favorite (bet $155 to win $100) and Larkin a +135 underdog (bet $100 to win $135) at Several Bookmakers. Both fighters are looking to get back on track, as Brunson dropped his last bout against Yoel Romero, and Larkin has lost two in a row (to Brad Tavares and Costas Philippou). Brunson is a solid wrestler who has only recently started to put his entire game together, showing improved striking against both Romero and Brian Houston. His cardio is still an issue however, and his chin has let him down in the past which leaves the door open for Larkin in this bout. At one point, talented striker Larkin was seen as something of a can’t-miss prospect in Strikeforce. He impressed against fellow striker Scott Lighty, stifled wrestling prospect Gian Villante, and only stumbled against a drug-enhanced Mo Lawal. All of those fights were at light heavyweight as well. Following his drop to 185, he defeated Robbie Lawler before coming over to the UFC. Things have taken a turn since that move however, as he’s dropped three of four and been outworked for the most part. If he allows Brunson to set the pace here, he could be in store for another loss and be looking for a new place to fight come Monday. In the heavyweight division, former MFC heavyweight champion Anthony Hamilton (12-3) takes on South African Ruan Potts (8-2). Both men could be fighting for their UFC careers in this one, as each was stopped quickly in their Octagon debut. Hamilton was submitted by Aleksey Oleinik, while Potts was knocked out by Soa Palelei. There’s good news and bad news for each man heading into this fight. For Hamilton, it’s the knowledge that Potts doesn’t have the greatest chin, meaning he could put his power striking to use and score a knockout at any point in this bout. Potts can find the silver lining in how easily Oleinik was able to take Hamilton down and submit him. Right now, the betting lines favor Hamilton, as he sits at -215, with the comeback on Potts at +195. With the path to a stoppage being clear for each man, this shouldn’t make it to the scorecards. However, Hamilton has been known to play it a bit safe when the stakes are high, as evidenced by his dreadful MFC title defense against Darrill Schoonover back in January. If he plays the wrestling and top position game, this could drag and turn into another lackluster bout between big men. On the other side of the coin, a quick finish means more Karyn Bryant. If those are the options, give me the lesser of two evils and make this fight go as long as possible. Please. The opening bout of the evening (wait, we’re there already?) is a lightweight bout between newcomers Cain Carrizosa (6-0) and Chris Wade (7-1). Carrizosa has shown a well-rounded game coming up through the regional circuit, as his six wins are evenly distributed among knockouts, submissions and decisions. He doesn’t excel in any areas, but he’s competent everywhere. The one drawback that can be pointed to in his game is a willingness to fight off of his back, and a tendency to get put there by almost all of his opponents. That is exactly what Wade will be looking to do in this bout. The wrestler from Long Island has seen six of his eight pro bouts go the distance, with his only two stoppages being submission victories. The Ring of Combat lightweight champion spends a great deal of time in his matches on the mat, and aside from his loss to Ozzy Dugulubgov in WSOF, is normally in top position. The recipe for the fight seems such that Carrizosa will have to make something happen on the ground, or he’ll end up losing a decision, but he certainly has the skills to do so. That’s why the line has remained fairly tight, with Wade only a slight -125 favorite and Carrizosa a +115 dog. The preliminary card for UFC 177 is set to being at 8pm ET on Fox Sports 1, but it’s unlikely that the first fight will hit the cage prior to 8:30 given the truncated lineup.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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