|This picture...WOW! via Dana White Twitter|
Fight Pass prelims:
- Manvel Gamburyan was runner up to Nate Diaz on TUF season 5. Since then he dropped to featherweight and now bantamweight. He has had his ups and downs but never really contender for anything other than a fun fight. I do have to say he looks to be in the best shape of his life thanks to hard work and the Dolce Diet. His opponent Cody Gibson is 1-1 is his brief and weird UFC career. He lost a short notice fight to the ultra talented Aljamain Sterling then won a VERY controversial fight over "Brutal" Bedford (it was bullshit). This is a "show me what you can do" fight for Gibson. He will either emerge as a legit bantamweight fighter or be exposed as a pretender. I take the savvy vet Gamburyan to bury him with ground and pound. Gamburyan 1st round TKO.
- Jon Tuck and Kevin Lee have 1 thing in common. They both lost to Al Iaquinta. Tuck has an excuse seeing as that his fight was 1 round and he finished that round despite a screwed up toe. So what's your excuse Lee? So this is where I would normally pick Tuck to win a split decision....BUT I gotta go with the hometown boy. Grand Rapids, Michigan's own Kevin Lee via split decision!
Fox Sports 1 prelims:
- Brian Ebersole may not be better than John Howard, but his chest hair is best in the business. I can't not pick this guy to win. Ebersole collects win #51 with a unanimous decision.
- Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson via something amazing KO. Sorry Cote.
- Jorge Masvidal is one tough SOB. He can endure anything the slick and talented James Krause throws at him to get the nasty decision win. That is unless something weird happens like in Krause's last 2 fights (a groin kick TKO and a broken ankle TKO). Masvidal/Krause should be bloody, weird, awesome, and important. Masvidal via decision.
- Dominick Cruz is back after just under 3 years absence. Takeya Mizugaki has done nothing but win. Throw them together and the winner gets a title shot right? Wrong. Barao, Assuncao, and Faber have other ideas of what is happening next. We shall see how it all shakes out. There is no telling if Cruz will even be good in his return. He may get injured again. However, when I see the commercial on TV of Cruz throwing current Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson through the air, I can only imagine a UFC with Cruz on top again. Cruz picks Mizugaki apart with his footwork and speed to win a decision 30-27.
- Cat Zingano, like Cruz, had an injury derail her career for some time. But she is back and ready to re-earn that title shot she already earned. Across from her is no joke in Amanda Nunes. I hope to see a slugfest between two women who desperately want a shot at Ronda Rousey. Expect this to be awesome. Zingano via TKO.
- Yoel Romero may be 40 but he is a rising "prospect" in the UFC middleweight division. He is finally getting a high-profile fight and is doing the UFC a favor in the process. While I like Tim Kennedy and respect his talents, he has put on snoozers in his recent fight career. They put an amazing wrestler and athlete across from him to shake things up. Yoel defends the takedown and uses his pure athleticism to knock Kennedy out cold within 2 rounds. Should be a dandy.
- Conor McGregor is fighting 3rd from last, but do not be confused. THIS IS THE MAIN EVENT OF UFC 178! The man who has drawn the attention of the world is not just talk, he can fight like a killer. Additionally, what he does best is where his opponent Dustin Poirier struggles. Let me explain. First, Poirier always guards his head by placing his arms on both sides of his head. This leaves him susceptible to uppercuts, one of Conor's best weapons. Second, Poirier gets tagged in literally every fight. Let's focus on his last 6. Jung, Brookins, Swanson, Brandao, and Corassani all tagged him and Koch almost submitted him with a triangle. Dustin was able to use his incredible chin and heart to come back and win 4 of those 6 fights. Losses to Swanson and Jung are nothing to be ashamed of and I do believe Dustin is the real deal. However, McGregor will put him away if Poirier gets in trouble. When looking at shared opponents, they both put Brandao away in the 1st round in almost identical fashion. Max Holloway was submitted wonderfully by Poirier and decisioned by McGregor. Long story short, Poirier has more ways to lose than he has to win. If Poirier has an advantage in this fight, it is in his wrestling and submission game. However, his anger and desire to punish McGregor for his trash talking may get in the way of a smart game plan. That is the beauty of McGregor, he is competent, confident, and knows how to win. McGregor via 1st round TKO.
- Donald Cerrone is on a tear and looking to fight, and win, 6 times in 2014. He very well may do that. With 2 head kick KO's and a submission victory already, Cowboy looks to get #4 over Eddie Alvarez. The longtime Bellator champion was involved in many wars outside the UFC. I love him and his style, but I am not a believer. I thought he lost both fights to Michael Chandler and I don't believe in the competition he went up against too much. Also, the anticipation of being in the UFC after so many years could get to him, especially being in a co-main event slot. Cowboy is no slouch of an opponent either. I think Cowboy rocks Alvarez on the feet and gets another submission victory. Look for that knee up the middle to be thrown often by Cerrone.
- DJ will beat Cariaso guaranteed. The only question is how fast will he get him out of there. I say 20 seconds. DJ slick right hand followed by a flurry of punches. Expect this fight to be a replay of Rousey vs Alexis Davis.