While Gunnar Nelson and Rick Story face off in Stockholm, Eastern Canada welcomes favourite son #2 Rory MacDonald and #9 challenger Tarec Sadffiedine to Halifax.
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.
With Andrei Arlovski’s massive upset of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, and Ben Rothwell’s win over Alistair Overeem, the mid-section of the UFC heavyweight division in a state of flux.
Now, it’s Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson’s turn to get in on the action. Nelson has been a gatekeeper, while Hunt was a Junior dos Santos heel kick knockout loss away from a shot.
Who will prevail and take the next step?
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman shares her picks on the main event matchups:
In case you missed the weigh-ins:
#14 KYOJI HORIGUCHI (13-1-0) vs “THE HEAT” JON DELOS REYES (7-3-0)
Wiseman: This is a bad match-up for Horiguchi due to submission game and his poor takedown defence. He has power, but Reyes waits, throws in flurries to rush forward, then scores the takedown. Horiguchi’s movement on angles will assist with making Reyes work a little, but not it’s not enough. Horiguchi started to rely solely on his KO power and, yes, it helped him thus far in his career, but becoming a one sided fighter isn’t what he wants.
Wiseman prediction: “The Heat” Jon Dolos Reyes via submission.
KIICHI “STRASSER” KUNIOTO (17-5-2, 1 NC) VS “FILTHY” RICHARD WALSH (8-1-0)
Wiseman: Walsh will want to stand-and-bang, so his 2-inch reach advantage will help. However, Kunimoto has kicks which flush the reach advantage out the window. Between the kicks and the ground game of Kunimoto, the skill setting is just going to be too much for Walsh. It will teach him to develop more, as he often swings wild. It will be an entertaining fight because Walsh isn’t a quitter.
Wiseman Prediction: Kiichi “Strasser” Kunimoto via submission.
#2 MIESHA “CUPCAKE” TATE (14-5-0) VS RIN NAKAI (16-0-1)
Wiseman: Is this really happening? While Nakai is a talented fighter and has beat the likes of Sarah D’Alello and
Tara LaRosa, she isn’t to Tate’s level. Her record is impressive, 16-0-1, but she hasn’t gone against the level of fighters that Tate has. Tate is a better wrestler and better with her submissions, really just a more well-rounded fighter. The only advantage Nakai has over Tate is her power and videotaping skills.
Wiseman Prediction: Miesha “Cupcake” Tate via TKO.
YOSHISHIRO “SEXYAMA” AKIYAMA (13-5-0, 2 NC) VS AMIR SADOLLAH (7-4-0)
Wiseman: Akiyama has striking with decent kicks, plus his judo throws. Sadollah is able to hold his own in the standup department, so I don’t see this going to the mat. Sadollah has a slight reach advantage and a cardio advantage which will be key in this match. He will want to pressure Akiyama and use side-to-side movement to stay away from his kicks.
Wiseman Prediction: Amir Sadollah via decision.
#9 MYLES “FURY” JURY (14-0-0) VS TAKANORI “THE FIREBALL KID” GOMI (35-9-0, 1 NC)
Wiseman: You can’t finish Gomi, so this fight will go the distance. However, Jury is on the rise and undefeated. Gomi’s inconsistent cardio and lack of technique prevented him from rising like this experience should signify. Jury has stamina, moves well around the pocket, and just too technical for Gomi. I see Jury getting frustrated with the fact that Gomi will just keep coming, but he went the distance before and has better cardio than Gomi, which will cement the victory.
Wiseman Prediction: Myles “Fury” Jury via unanimous decision.
#6 MARK “SUPER SAMOAN” HUNT (9-8-1) VS #8 ROY “BIG COUNTRY” NELSON (21-9-0)
Wiseman: Nelson has a chin of steel, Hunt does not. Hunt has no ground game, Nelson is a black belt. See where I’m going with this? Hunt is the more technical kick boxer, but Nelson can knock anyone out while getting slugged with a baseball bat. Things stay standing or things go to the mat, Nelson has an incredible advantage anywhere this fight goes.
Wiseman Prediction: Roy “Big Country” Nelson via TKO.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski was once a prodigy in the heavyweight division.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (46-0-0, 26 KOs) won his initial encounter with Marcos Maidiana (35-4-1, 31 KOs), but the Argentinian experienced his moment in the sun.
Invicta FC atomweight champion Michelle Waterson (11-3-1) returns to the cage to defend against Japanese southpaw challenger Yasuko Tamada (15-8-3) tonight in Kansas City.