UFC 177 takes place tomorrow night in Sacremento, California and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.

Main Card:

T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao

Will lightning strike twice tomorrow night? I hate to bet against a man of Barao’s talents, but I think it may well happen. It’s only been three months since Barao suffered a shock one-sided beatdown against Dillashaw and that feels like too fast of a turnaround both in terms of his physical recovery and in coming up with a gameplan to defeat the new champion.

The fact that Barao was rocked early in the first round of the original fight probably did have a bearing on his performance that night, but even before that Dillashaw looked supremely confident, was moving well and showing a marked speed advantage over his opponent.

I expect we’ll see a closer fight this time around, but I’m not convinced that 12 weeks out from their last fight that Barao has found an answer to deal with the movement, angles and speed of the new champion who appears to have taken to his role as champion like a duck to water. I’d be surprised and impressed if Dillashaw finished Barao again though – I think he takes this one on the scorecards.

TJ Dillashaw to win by decision.

Tony Ferguson vs. Danny Castillo

Castillo has the wrestling advantage in this fight, but in general Ferguson is the more well-rounded fighter and has a significant edge when it comes to striking.

Ferguson has good hands and pieces together technical combinations with power behind them nicely on the feet which will pose problems for Castillo who’s definitely more at home on the mat.

Given that ‘El Cocuy’ also has solid takedown defense and is a threat with submissions if the fight does go to the canvas, he looks to have more answers in this fight than Castillo and I think he can stop him inside of two rounds.

Tony Ferguson to win by TKO in Rd2

Bethe Correia vs. Shayna Baszler

Baszler has been part of the furniture in woman’s MMA for many years and she’s finally getting her chance to shine on the biggest stage, but has it all come too late for the 34 year old?

She certainly didn’t do as well as she’d hoped in the TUF house, but she’s still equipped with a good ground game and a wealth of experience competing against some of the best WMMA fighters in the sport.

There’s definitely a question mark as to whether that will be enough though against the younger, fresher Correia though, especially given that Baszler is coming off a lengthy layoff. Correia’s gameplan will be too keep this fight on the feet as often as possible and she has the skills to do so, and I believe her striking advantage and more aggressive approach will then enable her to eek out a close decision victory.

Bethe Correia to win by decision.

Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Ramsey Nijem

Interesting match-up here. Ferreira is very dangerous on the ground, but Nijem’s no slouch himself on the mat, particularly when he gets on top, while he’s also the better striker of the two and has a good gas tank.

Nijem can be over-enthusiastic at times, leaving openings to get caught on the feet and he doesn’t take too well to being hit, but I don’t think Ferreira is potent enough of a striker to put him in real danger.

I like Nijem to use his wrestling to keep this fight standing for the most part, offering up a busier and more varied offense output of kicks and punches to emerge with the ‘W’ here after 15 minutes of fighting.

Ramsey Nijem to win by decision.

Damon Jackson vs. Yancy Medeiros

Jackson comes on 9 days notice and also jumps up a weight class in order to make his UFC debut against Medeiros. It’ll be a tall order for him to emerge victorious then, which is a shame because the Legacy FC champ has talent and will pose a serious threat to Medeiros with his wrestling.

Medeiros has a poor record in the UFC so far and he’ll feel the pressure to perform tomorrow night, but in fairness his losses came against high level opposition so don’t read too much into that. He’s an aggressive striker with knockout power and will have a reach advantage on the night which if he’s smart he’ll use to keep his opponent at bay to make it harder to take him down.

Jackson is a good athlete is a good athlete and should come in relatively decent shape despite the short notice, but an Octagon debut on PPV with little time to prepare is still going to be an overwhelming experience so it’s hard to pick him here. I’m still tempted though – his relentless pursuit of the takedown and submission savvy could pay dividends, but the safer pick is for Medeiros to light him up on the feet and earn a stoppage victory.

Yancy Medeiros to win by TKO in Rd2.

Prelims:

Lorenz Larkin vs. Derek Brunson
Scott Jorgensen vs. Henry Cejudo
Ruan Potts vs. Anthony Hamilton
Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak
Chris Wade vs. Cain Carrizosa

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