UFC 178 Picks
When: September 27, 2014
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
by Scott of Predictem.com
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After Jon Jones bowed out of his bout with Daniel Cormier with an injury, UFC 178 had to be retooled. And they did a pretty good job, with an exciting main card, headlined by one of the top fighters in the world–UFC Flyweight king Demetrious Johnson. One of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the business, the 125-pound dynamo has been dominant in his role as UFC champ and looks to add to his resume with a successful title defense against Chris Cariaso. Also on the card is a potential corker of a lightweight bout, where oddsmakers cant seem to forecast a winner, as Donald Cowboy Cerrone takes on Eddie Alvarez, with the winner getting right in line for a title shot.
Demetrious Johnson (20-2-1, 4 KOs, 7 Submissions)(-1375) vs. Chris Cariaso (17-5, 3 KOs, 2 Submissions)(+900)
Johnson has really come into his own since the UFC added a flyweight division, earning the organizations first championship in that weight class and making 5 successful defenses in mostly dominant fashion. Its going to take someone really special to topple him. Hes technical, smart, tough, and probably the fastest fighter in all of MMA. Cariaso, 33, has his work cut out for him–make no mistake.
Frankly, when scanning the names of flyweights who would give Johnson a tough fight, the name Chris Cariaso might not be a name that sticks out. He has won 7 of 10 UFC fights, which is pretty good, but he hasnt really distinguished himself as a top 125-pounder, at least not based on his results. Of his 7 wins in the UFC, only one was inside the distance and 2 of his decisions wins were of the split variety. But hes at least a winning fighter of late, on the heels of three pretty good wins.
Cariaso had enough inner resources to crack into the top ten of flyweights, but that might be as far as he can go. Hes a late-bloomer and should be putting forth a heartfelt effort as he goes for UFC glory against one of the best fighters in the world. Its just that hes outgunned in virtually every area and its difficult to identify anything that he does better than the champion he is attempting to dethrone.
My Pick to Win: Im betting Demetrious Johnson. Too much speed. Too much class. Cariaso is tough, but lacks that one special dimension youd like to see from a candidate to topple a fighter of Johnsons standing. A Cariaso win would be one of the biggest UFC upsets in history.
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Donald Cerrone (24-6, 4 KOs, 15 Submissions)(-115) vs. Eddie Alvarez (25-3, 14 KOs, 7 Submissions)(-105)
When thinking of bouts to make at 155 pounds, you cant do much better than this. Cerrone is a favorite of fans–fighting an active schedule and unafraid of anyone. His credentials are good, with his only setbacks coming at the hands of the very elite of the lightweight division. He has lost to Benson Henderson twice, Anthony Pettis, Nate Diaz, and Rafael Dos Anjos–all tip-top fighters. He now has 4 wins in a row against good opposition and looks to make that next step against a top commodity in Alvarez.
Alvarez may be fighting in the UFC for the first time, but dont let that define him. He has been one of the top 155-pounders in the world for several years. Since 2009, his only setback was to the excellent Michael Chandler and he avenged that loss, leaving Bellator as that organizations reigning lightweight champion.
Normally, youd be worried about a fighter making his UFC debut against such a robust test as Cerrone. But Alvarez should be ready for this level of opponent and fits right in with the top-ten of UFC lightweights, without needing a few tune-up bouts. But it is still an awfully difficult entrance exam for the former Bellator standout.
Cerrone combines a kickboxers sensibilities with a submission game that has seen him submit 15 opponents. Hes been on a roll, stopping opponents with submissions and a brutal head kick he has been employing more lately. And boy, is he active. He fights whenever he can and when you see him in the octagon, its obvious that it pays off. Hes finely-tuned and sharp as a result of staying busy. Then you look at Alvarez, with one fight since 2012 and you have to wonder if that will hurt him. This will be Cerrones 4th fight this year, while Alvarez had one bout in two years.
Activity alone doesnt decide fights. But when you have two evenly-matched forces in the ring, it could be enough to tip the scales. When facing Cerrone, thats no time to be trying to shake off rust. Alvarez has the wrestling and striking acumen to beat Cerrone. He has the talent. But Cerrone is in really good form right now and has less question marks surrounding him as he enters this bout. Im taking Cerrone.
My Pick to Win: Im betting Donald Cerrone. He is on a roll with good momentum. Look for a measured and careful performance from Cerrone, who will open up his game in the second and third rounds to pull away for a decision or late stoppage victory. Placing a bet on an MMA fight makes it 10x more intense! Get into the action at one of the web’s most trusted bookmakers: Bovada Sportsbook.