Two lightweights coming off explosive performances will be looking to make the most of a major opportunity at UFC 177 in Sacramento, California. Tony Ferguson and Danny Castillo were vaulted into the co-main event spotlight after the organization shifted the flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Chris Cariaso to UFC 178 after light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was forced off the Sept. 27 card due to injury.
Both Ferguson and Castillo have designs on climbing the 155-pound ladder and taking their careers to the next level. It should make for a fan-friendly matchup between two competitors who have compiled strong Octagon records.
Ferguson is fresh off an impressive first-round knockout of Katsunori Kikuno at UFC 173. He put on a striking clinic in picking his Japanese opponent apart until the contest was finally halted at the 4:06 mark. “El Cucuy” has recorded other notable UFC wins over Ramsey Nijem and Yves Edwards.
The Season 13 winner of The Ultimate Fighter is an impressive 5-1 inside the Octagon with that lone setback being a decision loss at the hands of current top-10 lightweight Michael Johnson. Ferguson is a proven finisher with 13 of his 15 career victories having come by knockout or submission.
Castillo also produced fireworks in his last appearance with a devastating knockout of Charlie Brenneman at UFC 172. “Last Call” ended the contest just 21 seconds into the second round after landing a picture-perfect right hand that knocked Brenneman out cold. The spectacular KO was Castillo’s first since 2011.
It was an impressive bounce-back effort after a tough majority-decision loss in a thrilling bout at UFC on FOX 9 against Edson Barboza. Castillo is 7-3 during his UFC tenure and has produced 10 finishes in 17 career wins. The 35-year-old veteran has faced some strong competition during his career including the likes of current lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone, Dustin Poirier and Ricardo Lamas.
This has the makings of an entertaining striking battle between two aggressive fighters. Both Ferguson and Castillo have been in their share of exciting clashes and that trend should continue this weekend.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports