Renan Barao out of UFC 177 over illness - replacement named

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Renan Barao has been forced out of tomorrow's UFC 177 due to an illness during his weight cutting process, and has been replaced by Joe Soto.

There have been concerns that the UFC was rushing the rematch between Barao and TJ Dillashaw, who fought each other back in May, where Dillashaw pulled off one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.

Those concerns have proven to be well placed as Barao has been pulled at the last minute and instead, former Bellator Featherweight champion, Joe Soto will take his place.

UFC 177 in crisis mode

Barao's withdrawl from the card is the second of the day, after flyweight and former Olympian, Henry Cejudo also backed out following an illness that complicated his weight cut.

Soto has been moved up from the show's preliminaries, where he was due to make his UFC debut against Anthony Birchak. Instead, he'll now make his debut against Dillashaw, fighting for the title and headlining a PPV card.

His removal from that fight with Birchak leaves the UFC down three fights in a couple of hours and with only a day to go, they're not going to be able to add anymore.

It leaves them with just eight fights for the entire card and they currently have five on the main card, with only one of them featuring a ranked fighter outside of Dillashaw as champion.

The predicted numbers for the PPV have been getting lower and lower as the weeks have passed, with the removal of flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson's clash with Chris Cariaso, being seen as a death knell for the PPV already.

Now, with Barao out, the PPV could easily be one of the lowest bought PPVs in the modern history of the UFC.

There are some fears that it could draw as low as 25,000 buys, and would see the UFC take a huge financial - something they're already feeling with the cancellation of UFC 176, and the numbers on UFC 188 are likely to be average to decent at best.

Fighter reaction

Understandably, Dillashaw and his camp aren't thrilled with the news. According to Ariel Helwani that is, who tweeted earlier "I spoke to ppl close to Dillashaw. They aren't exactly jumping for joy that Barao is out. They know Soto and consider him a tough out."

#2 Bantamweight fighter, Raphael Assuncao took the opportunity to take a shot at the UFC on Twitter saying "Much respect and best regards to Barão
BUT THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MY TITLE SHOT @ufc 177 I was ready in shape, healthy & 6 fight win streak."

Responses from UFC Heavyweight, Alistair Overeem and former WWE-star and Walking Dead enthusiast, CM Punk were more light hearted.

"I'm not sure I can cut to 135 in time." Tweeted Punk.

While Overeem tweeted: "I'm on a good run, might as well drop down to 135lbs hahahaha! @TJDillashaw are u ready!"

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