I know that we were all severely disappointed about what happened to Renan Barao. In what was already a cursed card, UFC 177 suffered one more hit when Barao dropped out of his championship fight with T.J. Dillashaw. Joe Soto was then asked to fight Dillashaw, and of course he said yes and the card went on from there.
While it did turn out to be a pretty decent fight, Dillashaw still gambled way too much in accepting that fight with Soto.
I understand that Dillashaw was put between a rock and a hard place. When you are going to fight in 24 hours and as the main event of the night, I guess you can’t say “no” when they give you another opponent. Dillashaw did well though; he proved that he was a company man and took the fight. It will reflect positively on him for sure, and he can say that he defended his belt for the first time, so there is some silver lining.
Still, I have to think that it was a massive gamble for Dillashaw to take the fight. If you think bout it, Soto had already won. He was fighting for the championship, his boss was happy with him for taking the fight (and a favor from Dana White is no laughing matter), and he had the opportunity to upset the champion.
Dillashaw, however, had everything to lose. He was a massive favorite, he was defending his title on a card that was complained about for months, and now he was fighting a no-namer. It was a gutsy move on Dillashaw’s part, but he did it and it worked out.