Former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will make his long-awaited return at UFC 178, and that’s not the only intriguing matchup on the card. The event will be headlined by the man Cruz defeated during his last outing almost three years ago, Demetrious Johnson, who will defend his flyweight title against Chris Cariaso, while the fast rising Conor McGregor jumps into the deep end of the featherweight division’s pool, taking on Dustin Poirier.
Here are my UFC 178 predictions:
Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso
Cariaso (17-5-0, 3 KOs) will be in for the toughest test of his MMA career when he takes on Johnson (20-2-1, 7 submissions) on Sept. 27. The two were set to meet earlier at UFC 177, but the fight was moved to make up for the cancelled Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier fight. Mighty Mouse has been particularly dominant since he snagged the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s flyweight division’s title, dispatching a host of opponents who are all more accomplished than Cariaso.
It’s very hard to see Cariaso winning this fight.
Prediction: Johnson wins via submission.
Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez
“Cowboy” will have the honor of welcoming Alvarez (25-3-0, 14 KOs) into the Ultimate Fighting Championship when the two square up at UFC 178. Cerrone (24-6-0, 15 submissions) has finished his last four opponents in impressive fashion, while Alvarez secured Bellator’s lightweight title with his last performance.
These two will likely spend a majority of their tilt trading shots, but Alvarez’ superior boxing should give him a slight edge in that department. Alvarez should also have an advantage grappling wise, giving him more than one way to win this fight.
Prediction: Alvarez wins via decision.
Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor
A win against Poirier (16-3-0, 7 KOs) at UFC 178 will establish McGregor (15-2-0, 13 KOs) as a legit contender in the UFC’s featherweight division. However, any effort less than his very best will lead to defeat. Poirier is a serious step up in competition from the likes of Conor’s previous opponent, Diego Brando, with well-rounded skills to go with his tenacity.
He certainly won’t be intimidated by the Irishman’s aura, and he’s more than capable of finishing McGregor by knockout or submission.
However, I was extremely impressed with the improvements McGregor displayed during his last outing, and he appears to be fully committed to his growth as a martial artist. His striking defense is hard to penetrate, he consistently lands a large volume of punches, and his wrestling is surprisingly solid. That should be more than enough to get him past Poirier in impressive fashion.
Prediction: McGregor wins via knockout.
Remaining UFC 178 Predictions:
Yoel Romero defeats Tim Kennedy
Cat Zingano defeats Amanda Nunes
Dominick Cruz defeats Takeya Mizugaki
Jorge Masvidal defeats James Krause
Stephen Thompson defeats Patrick Côté
John Howard defeats Brian Ebersole
Kevin Lee defeats Jon Tuck
Manvel Gamburyan defeats Cody Gibson
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.
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