Despite losing their marquee fight of Jones vs Cormier, UFC 178 has without a doubt recovered and on Saturday night will deliver one hell of a card.
Main Event: Flyweight championship match: Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso
When this match up was announced it stumped MMA fans and media the world over and rightly so. Johnson is without a doubt the number one flyweight in the world and in the top 5 pound for pound fighters on the planet, and arguably number one skill wise. On the other hand we have Cariaso who is 4-2 at 125 pounds.
Yes, on paper this fight is unremarkable, and the vast advantage Mighty Mouse has in skill and speed could very easily outclass the aging Cariaso. Cariaso’s only saving grace is his ‘dog fight’ personality. Chris isnt scared to make any fight a brawl, and this could either confuse and frustrate the technically sound champion, or play right into Johnsons hands and allow easy counters and domination.
Either way, I can see this being an interesting fight. Either it will be a master class from Johnson or a surprisingly competitive fight, but whatever happens, I see this being a win for Johnson by submission or decision.
Pick: Demetrious Johnson
Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez
If you’re looking for a good old fashioned brawl come Saturday night, look no further than Donald Cerrone vs Eddie Alvarez. Not only is this match-up an early favourite for fight of the night, but either man could propel themselves into the lightweight title picture with an impressive win at UFC 178.
Both men are amongst the best 155ers in the world and both are very durable and game for anything which makes this fight so interesting. I believe the winner will be the man who is most aggressive and can keep his opponent moving backwards.
I see an absolute war that will probably go all three rounds, and I see Eddie Alvarez taking the decision.
Pick: Eddie Alvarez
Dustin Poirier vs. Connor McGregor
Being dubbed as ‘the people’s main event’ this featherweight scrap is definitely the most hyped fight of the night, and has do-not-miss written all over it.
Like Alvarez and Cerrone, this fight may have title implications in the 145lb division as a win, and even more so an impressive win could very much throw one of these men into top contender status. With so much pre fight trash talk happening for this fight, and also a very heated stand-off only days ago, fans and media alike are salivating over this featherweight battle.
I think this fight is very winnable for both men, and having a match-up this even just makes the fight even more exciting. Will we see McGregor’s full potential as a possible antidote to champion Jose Aldo? Or will Poirier prove to be too much for the Irishman and make his own way to a title fight. Regardless of the outcome, this fight is sure to be a hell raiser and definitely one to watch.
I think McGregor takes this fight by using Poirier’s aggression against him to counter and make Dustin fight at his pace. If Poirier’s too aggressive at the start of the fight it will play right into Conor’s hands and could well lead to a finish. I pick McGregor by TKO.
Pick: Conor McGregor
Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero
Battle of top ten middleweights, this fight is not only tough to call a winner, but to call whether or not it will be a good fight. Romero is a former Olympic wrestler, and Kennedy is well known for his ‘lay and pray’ tactics, so logic dictates this fight could well be a very dull wrestling match. On the other hand, these men could very well negate each-others wrestling causing a very interesting stand up fight.
If the latter comes true, this fight could be extremely exciting as both men have shown KO power in the past and with both being strong 185ers someone is surely to get finished. Romero has only lost once and Kennedy has never been finished meaning we could have an absolute war on our hands with these two.
I think Romero takes this one and possibly gets a TKO finish. Romero has the slight edge in wrestling and power and I think that could spell the end for Kennedy, who could well drop to 170 with a loss here.
Pick: Yoel Romero
Cat Zingano vs. Amanda Nunes
The return of ‘Alpha’ Cat Zingano is a joy for all MMA fans not only because she has been out for a long time with injuries and family tragedies, but she is the closest female in skill terms to Ronda Rousey that we have in the UFC.
This fight has somewhat fallen under the radar, but make no mistake, these are two of the most aggressive women in the UFC. Both have shown slick stand-up skills, with Zingano being more skilful and Nunes more aggressive. Both fighters also have a decent ground game that they use more defensively to keep the fight standing.
These two have a 94% finish ratio combined so do not be surprised if we see one of them fall come Saturday night, Dana White has already promised Zingano a title shot with a win, and it’s hard to believe Nunes won’t get one if she finishes Cat.
I see Zingano taking this fight possibly with a submission finish in the second or third round.
Pick: Cat Zingano