The UFC® was determined to give MMA fans a PPV that they wouldn’t soon forget. With the Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson rematch being postponed until the New Year, they got to work on a fight card that would have UFC fans buzzing.
This weekend UFC® 178 touches down in the fight capital of the world: Las Vegas, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Featuring 12 interesting matchups, the winners of this weekend’s fight night is anybody's guess!
Here’s a rundown of the main card fights and our picks for who will walk away with wins.
Main Event: Demetrious Johnson (c) vs. Chris Cariaso
Flyweight champ, Johnson, already has one title defense under his belt in 2014, when he defeated Ali Bagaunitov via UD in Vancouver at UFC® 174. Mighty Mouse will now be looking for his fifth straight title defense and only Chris Cariaso stands in his way.
There is a reason that Johnson has had such a successful run as champ, he’s currently ranked as the #4 P4P fighter according to UFC.com, and shows no signs of stopping. In a talented flyweight division Johnson hasn’t found an adversary who will end his streak.
Cariaso has his work cut out for him, as Johnson has the upper hand in both striking and grappling. Cariaso’s training and conditioning will have to show come Saturday as I truly believe Johnson will once again have his hand raised, of course we’ve seen greater underdogs come out on top. Still…
Prediction: Johnson via Decision
Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez
A fan favorite, Cowboy Cerrone will welcome UFC® newcomer Eddie Alvarez as the co-main event.
For those unfamiliar with Alvarez, he’s a former two-time Bellator lightweight champion. He’s considered one of the best in his weight class and knows how to win in a variety of ways. Alvarez has only been on the losing side of the Octagon™ three times in his career, and will look to keep it that way against Cerrone on Saturday.
This matchup already looks to be a war, although anyone who follows MMA knows that both of these men know how to finish a fight. According to cagerank.com data, Alvarez holds a slight edge.
The edge in this one goes to the cowboy on a hot streak…
Prediction: Cerrone via Submission Round 2
Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor
This highly anticipated featherweight showdown will finally play out in front of the crowd at MGM Grand.
McGregor, who has not been short on words for his opponent, is coming into the match off an 11-match win streak. Poirier has a win streak of his own, with a string of three wins, AND experience in the spotlight.
McGregor has the edge in striking, Poirier the edge in grappling although both men are comfortable on the mat. Poirier rarely let’s a fight go to decision, and McGregor is all about finishing a fight as well, so the likelihood that this will end via KO or submission is high. That said…
Prediction: Poirier via KO/TKO Round 2
Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero
Romero is a relative newcomer but has spent the last year and a half knocking opponents out on his way to the top of the middleweight division. Granted these impressive wins have come against lower ranked fighters and Kennedy will prove to be more than Romero has had to handle.
If Romero is able to connect with Kennedy’s chin it will be the end of the match. Romero boasts an Olympic silver medal in wrestling, a caliber of grappling which Kennedy has not yet seen. Kennedy still holds the edge in experience and having a strong chin. So who gets the W and moves closer to the middleweight strap?
Prediction: Romero via KO Round 2
Cat Zingano vs. Amanda Nunes
If you’ve been on Instagram, Zingano has been EVERYWHERE on your feed building anticipation for her fight, and not without cause. Zingano was scheduled for a shot at the title, but had an extremely emotional personal tragedy befall her and her family, and along with an injury, she was sidelined for almost a year and a half.
Nunes on the other hand has been in the UFC® and active. She seems to hate the idea of not finishing a fight as almost every single one of her victories has come due to KO/TKO.
If Zingano has been keeping up with training and her months off haven’t made her rusty, this victory leans toward her corner. If she is phased by her time away from the Octagon™ Nunes walks away with the win.
Prediction: Zingano via KO/TKO Round 2
You've heard our picks, do you agree with them? How do you think it will go down this weekend?
Are you reading this from sunny Las Vegas? Odds are you’re already there for UFC® 178 and counting down the hours to the official fighter weigh-in. With all the surprises at UFC® 177’s weigh-ins MMA fans won’t want to miss this one.
While it’s too late to be a UFC VIP at UFC® 178, the UFC VIP Experience can still be yours in the end of 2014 or even to kick off 2015.
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