UFC president Dana White was in a much better mood following UFC 177 than he was before it, as the card delivered several incredible finishes.
In the weeks and days leading up to the Sacramento event, UFC officials were forced to re-work a lot of things. That included the main event just hours before weigh-ins were set on Friday.
Renan Barao suffered a fall while attempting to cut weight, forcing him out of the headline fight with T.J. Dillashaw for the bantamweight title. That change left Joe Soto to challenge in his Octagon debut, and the former Bellator champion pushed Dillashaw to the ffith and final round.
“You just never know what to expect,” said White, during an interview on FOX Sports 1 after the event. “(Soto) was highly motivated and I have a lot of respect for him.”
White also feels Dillashaw showed himself well taking on a new fighter with just hours to prepare. The Team Alpha Male member was also competing in his hometown, adding pressure to his first title defense.
“There is enough pressure with your first title defense and that is tough enough, but to add in all the drama he’s been through,” White said. “He went out and performed.”
Of the five main card bouts, just one was left up to the judges – but it was a hotly-contested one. Tony Ferguson earned a decision over Danny Castillo in the co-main event, much to the chagrin of the Sacramento crowd.
“I absolutely had Tony Ferguson winning that fight,” White said. “I am happy the judges made the right decision. A couple of those rounds, all Castillo did was hold on for dear life.
“Tony was working the whole time and was the busier fighter. He was trying to win the fight and he deserved that fight.”
Bethe Correia earned her second win over a member of the Ronda Rousey-led “Four Horsewomen” group, finishing off Shayna Baszler. After the performance, she called out the UFC female bantamweight champion.
“I love it,” White said. “Not too many people are screaming Ronda’s name.”
While White said that, he also made sure to point out Cat Zingano and others as standing in front of Correia for a title shot.
“There is a long list of people waiting to fight Ronda,” he said. “But I like (Correia). She looked unbelievable.”
As for the event in general, White simply stated “We always deliver, and Sacramento…what a killer fight town.
“This town is awesome. I am always the first guy to say, ‘let’s go back to Sacramento.'”