UFC 178 unfolds from the friendly confines of the MGM Grand Garden arena in Las Vegas.
Defending flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson (20-2-0) defends against #8 Chris Cariaso (17-5-0) in a bout he is expected to win.
Many fans are interested in the Conor McGregor – Dustin Poirier main card matchup. The Irishman is expecting a first-round TKO. Poirier has other plans.
Also The Dominator, former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, after two years away from the cage from various injuries, finally makes his UFC return on the undercard.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks in with her thoughts on the main event matchups.
UFC FIGHTPASS EARLY PRELIMS (7PM ET/4PM PT)
MANNY “THE ANVIL” GAMBURYAN (16-10-0) VS CODY “THE RENEGADE” GIBSON (12-4-0)
Wiseman: Gamburyan will want to close the gap, go for a judo throw and into a submission. Gibson will want to use his power in the striking department while using his ground game to get things back to their feet. Gamburyan is stronger and with his build, he will be much harder to defend from when on the mat. Ultimately I see this being the biggest problem that Gibson will face, the power and judo skills of Gamburyan.
Wiseman Prediction: Manny “The Anvil” Gamburyan via submission.
JON “THE SUPER SAIYAN” TUCK (8-1-0) VS KEVIN “THE MOTOWN PHENOM” LEE (8-1-0)
Wiseman: These guys have striking, but Tuck has power. I have Lee getting rocked, then shooting for a takedown. On the mat it will be all Lee. Tuck has a ground game, but Lee does have the advantage. Tuck will want to use his ground knowledge to get back to his feet. Being the more diverse fighter he will be able to counter what Lee throws his way.
Wiseman Prediction: Jon “The Super Saiyan” Tuck via decision.
JOHN “DOMMSDAY” HOWARD (22-9-0) VS “BAD BOY” BRIAN EBERSOLE (50-16-1, 1 NC)
Wiseman: I see this being possibly boring. Howard had cardio problems in the past and will be taken down. On the mat I give Ebersole the edge. However, Howard is no fool on the mat, so I see them grinding things out. Ebersole weighing down on Howard in the first round to wear him down later in the fight.
Wiseman Prediction: “Bad Boy” Brian Ebersole via unanimous decision.
PATRICK “THE PREDATOR” COTE (21-8-0) VS STEPHEN “WONDERBOY” THOMPSON (9-1-0)
Wiseman: This is a great matchup. These guys have standup and KO power. Thompson fights long and Cote will need his kicks to help close that distance. I don’t see this fight going to the mat unless someone gets rocked and needs to recover, otherwise this will be a standing war. The first round will be a feeling out round with Cote winning slightly, I see Thompson taking the second, with the final round being the decision maker.
Wiseman Prediction: Patrick “The Predator” Cote via decision.
JORGE “GAMEBRED” MASVIDAL (27-8-) VS JAMES “THE JAMES KRUASE” KRAUSE (21-5-0)
Wiseman: Masvidal loves to swing for the finish. He stays low, chin tucked, and loaded for a KO finish. Krause is constantly working on his striking, which is something he will need against Masvidal to get the takedown. When things are taken to the mat, it’s going to be all Krause. Masvidal will struggle with the fact that Krause fights long. Getting in and out of the pocket will be a little more challenging.
Wiseman Prediction: James “The James Krause” Krause via submission.
#10 DOMINICK CRUZ (19-1-0) VS #5 TAKEYA MIZUGAKI (20-7-2)
Wiseman: I would not want to be the person stepping into the cage against Cruz after two plus years. Cruz battled against so much and is just ready to get back to the belt. Mizugaki is a legitimate challenge, but like when Cruz was champion, no one was able to keep up with his pace or to figure out his timing. I don’t see anything changing. As Cruz mentioned in one of his interviews, this is only a three round fight. Considering he was going against the likes of Faber for five rounds before, three rounds will be easy.
Wiseman Prediction: Dominick Cruz via TKO.
#1 CAT “ALPHA” ZINGANO (8-0-0) VS #8 AMANDA “THE LIONESS” NUNES (9-3-0)
Wiseman: Nunes is a lady with a load of power, She is going to want to stand and bang, but Zingano is diverse. Her movement, speed, and her ability to be strategically dominant will challenge Nunes. I just see Zingano setting up a takedown with strikes and going for either ground-and-pound or a submission.
Wiseman Prediction: Cat Zingano via submission.
#6 TIM KENNEDY (18-4-0) VS #10 YOEL “SOLDIER OF GOD ” ROMERO (8-1-0)
Wiseman: Kennedy has KO power, but he isn’t going to want to stand and bang with Romero. Romero also has power, with no ground game. Romero developed confidence in his power which has caused him to seem like a one dimensional fighter constantly looking for the knockout rather than the setup, angles, etc. Kennedy has more experience and is more diverse. This fight could be either quick and exciting or a grind match. Kennedy’s best bet is to take things to the mat and go for a submission.
Wiseman Prediction: Tim Kennedy via submission.
#5 DUSTIN “THE DIAMOND” POIRIER (16-3-0) VS CONOR “THE NOROTIOUS” MCGREGOR (15-2-0)
Wiseman: Neither of these guys leave things in the hands of the judges, so expect explosives. Poirier tends to show technique, but can often be predictable. Considering he is going against the spontaneous McGregor, he will look predictable regardless. McGregor is able to counter, move side-to-side, has speed, and has been having a great time getting in the head of Poirier. Poirier has more UFC experience, but McGregor isn’t the one coming in full of emotions. This will certainly play a part in the fight.
Wiseman Prediction: “The Notorious” Conor McGregor via TKO.
#5 “COWBOY” DONALD CERRONE (24-6-, 1 NC) VS #14 EDDIE ALVAREZ (25-3-0)
Wiseman: Cerrone is on a roll so far this year. I feel like he is on every card and when he is in the octagon,it’s been all Cerrone. There is a new fire in his eyes; not such a great thing for Alvarez. Alvarez does have the power advantage, but the technical Muay Thai striking of Cerrone is that of another level. His aggression, timing, and ability to keep things mixed really leaves his opponents wondering. Alvarez will be throwing bombs while Cerrone will be striking from different angles, different levels, and dominating.
Wiseman Prediction: “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone via submission.
DEMETRIOUS MIGHTY MOUSE” JOHNSON (20-2-1) VS #8 CHRIS “KAMIKAZE” CARIASO (17-5-0)
Wiseman: Johnson is possibly one of the best fighters in the world and with the skills that Cariaso brings to the table, I don’t see him superior in any area. Johnson is too fast, his cardio impeccable, has submission and KO power, with technique and movement. Cariaso is fast and has a good standup game, but not at the same level as Johnson.
Wiseman Prediction: “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson via TKO.