UFC 178 Preview

ufc_178UFC 178 was going to be one of the biggest fights of the year for the promotion as it was the biggest rematch for the UFC. Jon Jones was going to put his title on the line against the one fighter who has taken him further in a fight than ever before. Alexander Gustafsson was set to fight Jones in a rematch of what many considered to be the best fight of 2013. Then Gustafsson was hurt training leaving Jones to take on another top challenger in Daniel Cormier. That fight seemed to be an even bigger draw after the two got into a fight during a pre-fight press conference. Then Jones was hurt and the fight was pulled from the card with Cormier in line for a title shot but nobody to fight. The card should have been destroyed from there and yet another card could have been sacrificed in a year full of terrible injuries. Luckily for the UFC and for fans the card had already been stacked with talent and the loss of a light heavyweight championship fight was not the end of the card. After all of the changes it will be the lighter weight classes that will carry this card much like they have been doing throughout 2014. The lighter weight classes have shown more promise that the heavier weight classes as they have put on some great fights and are some of the closest title races in the UFC. This time it will be the Flyweight division that will take the focus after the cancelled fights. Demetrious Johnson will once again enter the octagon looking to continue his reign as the first and only Flyweight champion in the UFC. He has been a force since dropping to the Flyweight division during the flyweight tournament. After spending years in the Bantamweight division it is clear that this lighter weight class is the place for Johnson. He has yet to lose in the division and after claiming the first ever Flyweight title against Joseph Benavidez he has been able to keep his hands on the championship. His challenger will be Chris Cariaso who has done a good job of stinging together wins to earn his shot. Since entering the Flyweight division in 2012 he has a 4-2 record and is looking to surprise everyone by beating the man who not many think can be beaten. As he tries to continue the pattern of the year he looks at a big hill to climb against Johnson. One of the fastest fighters in the UFC Johnson rarely takes a lot of damage and loves to stay on the outside. He will almost never get into a brawl with an opponent as he continues to fight around his opponents and use his speed and technical boxing to beat challengers. He stays on the outside and comes in only when he wants to, ensuring that he is not drawn into a fight that he doesn’t want. Cariaso is a little different as a Muay Thai expert who will likely be looking to clinch with the champion. Cariaso will have a tough job of getting in close with Johnson and will likely use some very good kicks on the outside. It is going to be a tough fight for Cariaso who seems overmatched in this fight. Johnson is looking to become one of the few dominant champions that can continue his time as the champion this year and he seems like he has a great shot of doing that. Then again nobody thought that Anderson Silva or Renan Barao could be beat and both sit without a championship. Aside from a massive upset Johnson will remain the champion and expect him to do so with a unanimous decision win to cap off a loaded card at UFC 178.

There are a number of great stories in the main card including a number of lightweight fights that have some implications in the top of the rankings. Yet with all of these great fights there seems to be one fight in the undercard that could be the most interesting fight of the night. To close out the undercard a fighter will make his long-awaited return as a former champion without a belt despite not being beat. Dominick Cruz has had a long road back the octagon after a promising time as the Bantamweight Champion. Cruz looked like an unbeatable champion three years ago but has not fought since. After beating Brian Bowles for the inaugural Bantamweight championship Cruz defended the belt four-times against the best of the division. Then while preparing for a rematch with Urijah Faber he tore his ACL setting in motion aseries of unlucky events that saw him out of the octagon for almost three years and saw him lose his belt due to inactivity. After multiple operations on his knee that failed Cruz has spent a lot of time off and is now forced him from the top of the rankings to #10. There is no doubt that he will rise fast if he can start winning in his return and will challenge new champion T.J. Dillashaw is he can hang onto the belt. His first step in that path will be against Takeya Mizugaki as he returns for the first time since 2011 to fight in the octagon. Everyone will watch carefully to see if his speed and elusiveness that made his such a tough fighter can return after a long layoff while Mizugaki tries to keep his #5 ranking by beating a former, and to some still, champion by making it into a brawl where he can use his chin and striking ability to put away a fighter that can still be considered one of the best in the division.

Fight Card

Main Event:
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs. Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso [Flyweight Title] (Pay-per-View)

Main Card:
Eddie “The Silent Assassin” Alvarez vs. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (Pay-per-View)

“Notorious” Connor McGregor vs. Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (Pay-per-View)

Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero (Pay-per-View)

“Alpha” Cat Zingano vs. Amanda “Lioness of the Ring” Nunes (Pay-per-View)

Undercard:
Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal vs. “The” James Krause (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson vs. Patrick “The Predator” Cote (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

John “Doomsday” Howard vs. Brian “Bad Boy” Ebersole (Sportsnet 360/Fox Sports 1)

Kevin “Motown Phenom” Lee vs. Jon “Super Saiyan” Tuck (UFC Fight Pass)

Manny “The Anvil” Gamburyan vs. Cody “The Renegade” Gibson (UFC Fight Pass)

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