UFC 178 lacked the big name title bout which gets fans talking. It seemed cursed in the months prior — most notably when light heavyweight champion Jon Jones pulled out of the event due to injury. The main event featured UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson, who has failed to gather much of a following, facing an opponent who hadn’t even yet merited a spot on a UFC pay-per-view broadcast.
That didn’t keep it from feeling like a modern MMA classic.
UFC 178 felt like one of the great UFC shows of the early 2000’s, which featured the world’s best mixed martial artists in dogfights, match after match.
Sure, Johnson rolled over his opponent, the overmatched Chris Cariaso, in two rounds. Johnson followed up a dominant first round with a quick takedown in the second, ending the bout with a Kimura.
But the rest of the main card was stacked top-to-bottom, and filled with memorable action.
Cat Zingano made an emotional return to the Octagon to begin the show, earning a comeback TKO victory in the third round against Amanda Nunes. Zingano had overcame both injury and personal tragedy in the preceding year, and will challenge dominant champion Ronda Rousey in January.
Next, Yoel Romero won a controversial bout against Tim Kennedy at middleweight in another seesaw battle. After a dominant first stanza, Romero was nearly stopped by Kennedy’s punches at the conclusion of the second round. Romero’s corner left the Octagon with Romero on the stool as the horn sounded to begin round three, and referee John McCarthy failed to clear the ring and re-start the bout for almost 20 seconds. Romero recovered to stop Kennedy on strikes in the third.
Eddie Alvarez saw his Octagon return spoiled by Donald Cerrone, who initiated a diverse striking attack to earn a unanimous decision victory. Cerrone reportedly scored 88 significant strikes throughout the bout: 34 head strikes, 28 body strikes, 26 leg strikes (per Michael Carroll of Fightmetric). Alvarez, who won the first round on a strong flurry of punches, was hobbled from the leg kicks and a bit overwhelmed by the bout’s finish.
The biggest victory of the night belonged to Conor McGregor however, who backed up all his trash talk by stopping Dustin Porier with punches at 1:46 of the first round. McGregor showed his trademark lateral footwork and flashy kicks to begin, before landing a punching combination which grazed a ducking Porier’s head. The Irishman, who enjoyed the support of a partisan crowd, pounced with more punches until the official halted the bout.
Full results, including the preliminary bouts, are at our play-by-play thread at http://www.cagedinsider.com/ufc/ufc-178-play-play-results-fights/