Dillashaw thwarts late-replacement Soto at UFC 177
UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw came out on top of his first title defense by trouncing last-minute challenger Joe Soto in the main event of UFC 177 on Sunday, August 31 (PH Time) at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California.
Despite early signs of a competitive contest, Dillashaw knocked out Soto with a right head kick and a straight left in the fifth round of their championship clash, closing the door on the former Bellator MMA featherweight titlist at the 2:20 mark.
Soto, a short-notice replacement for one-time bantamweight king Renan Barao who passed out while cutting weight hours before the official weigh-in, was effective in spurts and landing his counterpunches.
However, the fighter known as “One Bad Mofo” had no answer for Dillashaw’s nifty footwork, unpitying pace, and high-volume output of leg kicks, jabs, tight uppercuts and dumpy right hooks.
Dillashaw wrote the final sentence in the fifth frame, where he staggered Soto with a right high kick to the temple, followed it up with a straight left, and trailed Soto to the floor to force referee John McCarthy to halt the action.
“I’m going to fight anybody they put in front of me and I’m going to beat them,” Dillashaw lauded in his post-fight interview.
The switch in opponent left Dillashaw surprised, but the 135-pound titleholder desired to ensure that he would put on a performance for the local crowd.
“Man, it’s been crazy, but obviously I wanted to do it for Sacramento,” said Dillashaw, who improves his mixed martial arts (MMA) record to 11-2 with the win over Soto.
Considering the chain of events that went down over the past two days, the 28-year-old Team Alpha Male standout admitted that he is not interested in rescheduling his rematch with Barao at the moment.
“For now, it’s behind me. I just had to beat Joe Soto. I had to switch my mind up in one day. I hate those questions: ‘Who do you want to fight next?’ I’ve just been thinking about one person for the last 10 weeks, and I had to switch it up last night,” he stated during the post-UFC 177 press conference.
On the other hand, Soto sees his impressive six-bout winning streak come to an end and downgrades his MMA win-loss card to 15-3.
“I didn’t want to die knowing I didn’t fight in the UFC. I thought I was, but my dream came true,” the strong-minded Soto shared after the match. - Rappler.com