Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao has been deemed unable to compete tomorrow night at UFC 177 for health reasons. Barao, who was walking at around 153 lbs according to sources just last week, had run into issues cutting weight (Barao fainted during his cut and was rushed to the hospital) ahead of his rematch with the man who dethroned him this past May, T.J. Dillashaw. Just one day out from his chance opportunity at reclaiming the gold that made him a P4P superstar, Barao has been forced to withdraw.
Filling in for Barao on just one days notice will be none other than Bellator’s very first featherweight champion, Joe Soto. Soto was scheduled to face former MFC bantamweight champion Anthony Birchak on the preliminary portion of UFC 177. Instead, Soto will be fighting for the UFC bantamweight championship in his debut for the promotion.
According to tweet sent out by Ariel Helwani just moments ago, Birchak will not be given a replacement opponent and the show will go on with just 8 fights. At the time of this announcement, Joe Soto had 132 followers on Twitter. About less than half hour later he already has 421. Sacrificial lamb or not, everyone in the MMA world will now know his name over night.
Just when you thought T.J. Dillashaw taking out Barao was the greatest upset of all-time, Soto coming in on just one days notice to dethrone Dillashaw would certainly take the proverbial cake.