UFC 178 Preview and Predictions
Stacked. Are you sick of this word being used by MMA pundits when they describe this card? We don’t care. Sta-sta-sta-stacked! As everyone’s favorite mutual Uncle/UFC President would say, “If you don’t watch this card, you’re not a f***ing fan.” I’m not saying I necessarily agree with that, ever, I’m just saying this card is without question thee most stacked (that’s right) card of the season thus far. Stacked like a Scarlett Johansson or even a Christina Hendricks for all of you Mad Men fans out there. Stacked like the Red Wings during the Scotty Bowman era. Stacked like Jay Z’s paper. Stacked like books. Stacked like the best banana split you’ve ever laid eyes on. Alright, that’s enough. We’re done here. Enjoy the picks, enjoy the fights, and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Main Card (10 p.m. ET – PPV)
• Demetrious Johnson (C) vs. Chris Cariaso
I compare this card to devouring your delicious dessert before, instead of after your mediocre dinner. It’s something your grandma told you not to do as a child, but if left unsupervised one could always pull it off.
While Demetrious Johnson may not be the most exciting fighter outside of the cage he has become one of the most technically sound inside of it. Cariaso isn’t his most worthy contender by a long shot, but there is always that punchers chance. I just don’t see anyone at 125 being able to keep pace with the champ in a 5 round title fight and Cariaso is no exception. We saw that throwing caution into the wind and looking to get into a firefight can even get you in trouble with DJ nowadays with the 2nd Benavidez fight. Johnson has become one of the best in the world right before our eyes and watching him work is a treat. Fans should treat this fight more like a solid dessert after a stunning main course.
Johnson takes this one via speed, precision, and tiny brilliance.
• Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez
Eddie Alvarez is a fighter who has belonged on PPV for years, and for his long awaited and highly anticipated debut – he has been pitted against a man who has been on an absolute tear inside of the UFC 155 lbs division.
These are two men who don’t have a whole heck of a lot in common other than the job description of professional ass kicker. When it comes to their goals, Alvarez wants to provide for his family en route to a world title; he wants to be the #1 ranked fighter in the world. For Cerrone, well, ‘Cowboy’ just wants to have fun and collect bonuses. He doesn’t care who he fights, or what he’s fighting for. He just wants to fight and fight often.
Alvarez has a lot more to lose in this one than Cerrone. All too often we’ve seen highly touted fighters enter the UFC with hopes of having gold put around their waist only to put other fighters over and into a title fight of their own. As far as the fight itself goes, for Alvarez it does not begin until he’s been rocked at least once. If he can survive Cerrone’s initial storm then I like him to take this one via a gritty hard fought UD.
• Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor
Who needs Jones-Cormier? The build up to this grudge match has been nothing short of incredible and the fight itself should top all of the talk.
McGregor is in Poirier’s head. I don’t mean that in the way that Poirier is scared (he’s exactly the opposite) or that he’s won the fight before it’s begun. I mean it more in the sense that he has his opponent angered. He has his opponent thinking more about finishing him than implementing a game plan that could get him to the finish. While the other side of the pillow may have nothing on this dapper Irish mega star, don’t let the glitz and the glam fool you.
One of the many reasons McGregor is as cool inside of the cage as he is outside of has to do with his coaching. Poirier is the perfect opponent to get McGregor right where he needs to be – in the title picture. He’ll find his opening early and make a frustrated Poirier pay dearly. McGregor via highlight reel TKO.
• Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero
In this contest we get to see the “Chosen Soldier” take on a “Soldier of God” in yet another fight on this stacked card that holds heavy title implications.
This one isn’t going to be pretty. It’s going to be all about muscle and who can spend the most time controlling his opponent against the cage and on the ground. We’ve seen that both men have the ability to finish their opponent standing, but what really intrigues me is their wrestling. Romero may have the brute power advantage early on but expect Kennedy to weather the storm and end up pushing his UFC record to a perfect 5-0 via strong grappling and smothering top control.
• Cat Zingano vs. Amanda Nunes
This is the second of two huge fights that celebrate two athletes who will be making their triumphant return(s) to the octagon.
It’s already been announced by the UFC that a win for Zingano means a title shot. And with the champ, Ronda Rousey, slated to make her return in January, it appears that we’ll be getting a heavy dose of ‘Alpa’ over the next few months. It all begins tomorrow night when she’ll be faces with the challenge of taking out a tough as nails ‘Lioness’ out of Brazil.
With a finish, Nunes could steal that coveted #1 contender slot in the women’s bantamweight division. Her best shot at winning this one would be to take it to the ground and dish out some good old fashioned ground and pound. She’ll have a tough time getting past her opponents deadly clinch though; expect Zingano to keep her status with a vicious TKO victory.
Preliminary Card (8 p.m. ET – FS1)
• Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki
After a lengthy layoff fans will be treated to one of the most cerebral fighters of our time – on free TV! Mizugaki is getting the opportunity of a lifetime here but you can expect the former bantamweight kingpin – who never lost that title by the way – to‘Cruz’ to a lopsided 30-26 UD victory.
• Jorge Masvidal vs. James Krause
Masvidal has been given plenty of chances to put himself in the conversation as a top lightweight. It’s time for The James Krause to show us what he can do against the upper echelon – after he finishes Masvidal via TKO.
• Patrick Cote vs. Stephen Thompson
Wonderboy will take the French Canadian deep into the mucky muck where will finally reveal to us the secrets to his power.
• Brian Ebersole vs. John Howard
This is the perfect match up to kick off a string of 9 consecutive can’t miss fights on the night. Howard is a guy that can finish anyone with a quickness but I just have a tough time going against the highly unorthodox Ebersole in his return bout. ‘Twas’ via an ugly cartwheel kick.
Preliminary Card (7 p.m. ET – Fight Pass)
• Jon Tuck < Kevin Lee
• Manvel Gamburyan < Cody Gibson
cover image credit – Esther Lin/MMA Fighting
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