Tony Ferguson vs. Danny Castillo Is Not Worthy of Co-Main-Event Status

By Jay Anderson
MMA: UFC 166-Ferguson vs Rio
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

With apologies to the fighters involved, who are without question tough competitors, Tony Ferguson vs. Danny Castillo, newly elevated to co-main event status on the upcoming UFC 177, is far from worthy of the co-main event title.

Don’t look now, but it looks as if we’ve got a card dangerously close to the cancelled UFC 151 line-up on our hands.

With the injury to light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, which forced him out of his title bout at UFC 178 in September, something had to be done, and something was. UFC 177’s solid co-main event of Demitrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso for the flyweight title was shifted to the September card as the main event, and now comes word that Ferguson vs. Castillo has been elevated to co-main event of UFC 177, rather than a last-minute bout be put together or shifted from yet another card.

With UFC 177 going down in just a few weeks’ time on August 30, options for the UFC were slim, but the main card now looks more like a Fight Night card, if that. In fact, the only fight that can really be considered a must-watch is the headliner of T.J. Dillashaw against Renan Barao, a rematch of their fight from May where Dillashaw shocked the MMA world, upsetting the heavily-favored Barao. Beyond that, the only fight on the main card that is really of interest is the Shayna Baszler vs. Bethe Correia bout, as Correia has vowed to take out Ronda Rousey’s stable of fighters one by one, and Baszler would represent victim No. 2.

If either Dillashaw or Barao were to fall to injury before the 30th, and the main event lost, it’s likely the event itself would be facing cancellation—an unthinkable prospect given that UFC 176, originally to be held at the start of August, was cancelled as well due to an injury to featherweight champion Jose Aldo.

Again, Castillo and Ferguson are tough fighters, but Castillo is 1-1 in his last two, and Ferguson 2-1 in his last three. A co-main event needs to be a fight that could potentially take the place of the main event on the card, if necessary, and that just isn’t an option here. This isn’t a fight that will do much in the division as it stands. It’s not a title eliminator, and neither guy has the name value to carry a card.

In the past, the UFC has turned to some fan favourites like Anderson Silva (UFC 153) and Roy Nelson (UFC 161) to rescue cards, but it seems as if they either aren’t willing or aren’t able to do so in this case.

With that in mind, keep your fingers crossed. A poorly timed injury, and this card falls apart.

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