Fight fans: UFC 178 is tonight!
MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will host a flyweight title bout in the main event, with Demetrious Johnson defending his title against Chris Cariaso.
Johnson has quietly been one of the UFC’s most dominant champions with four straight title defenses, while Cariaso, a little-known product of the strong Bay Area MMA & jiu-jitsu scene, is making his first appearance on a UFC pay-per-view main card. Accordingly, Johnson, of Seattle, is a huge favorite — coming in at about twenty to one in some outlets.
The headliners may be overshadowed by a strong undercard, featuring the popular Irish featherweight Conor McGregor against Dustin Poirier. Eddie Alvarez will make his UFC debut against lightweight mainstay Donald Derrone in another anticipated bout. Also, Demetrius Cruz and Cat Zingano return to the UFC after long layoffs.
Please join us for full play-by-play and results, starting with the preliminary card at 7 pm Eastern/4 pm Pacific. Hit refresh often for the latest results!
Preliminary Card (to be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass)
Bantamweights: Manvel Gamburyan vs. Cody Gibson
Young prospect “The Renegade” Gibson is listed as a Jr. College wrestling All-American; he has won 7 of his last 8 MMA bouts. Old favorite Gamburyan was TUF5 finalist and is making his bantamweight debut. Gibson is a -210 favorite.
Round One: Slip to a left hook by Gamburyan. Left hook lands for Gibson after a failed takedown. Gamburyan swinging wildly, Gibson with the crisper, straighter punches. Manny with a nice body kick. Gibson spins Manny to the mat as they bounce in and out — but he gets right back to their feet. Low knee from Manny as they clinch and the action is halted. On the restart, Manny looks to establish leg kick to stem the tide but it’s mostly more of the same. Jabs and rights back Manny up, who is now cut. Gamburyan with a takedown but groundwork goes nowhere. Gibson up, lands a few elbows in the clinch. 10-9, Gibson.
Round Two: Gibson lands with long punches and kicks. Manny tries to respond but is blasted with a front kick to the crotch. Action is halted again. Long wait for the restart, big right shakes Manny. Gibson pours it on with punches and knees to head and body. Manny with an uppercut on the clinch. Gibson using his wrestling to whip him to the mat, and looking for the back as Manny rises. Manny escapes, circles away. Gibson with more hand combo’s, now looking for Thai clinch against the cage. Manny taking shots, hits a single leg. Gibson tries to escape and Manny secures a guillotine! Gibson taps!!!
Great, hard-fought comeback win for Manny, who becomes one of only five fighters to win bouts in three weight classes. He says this division will be his home for a long time and calls out Bryan Caraway, who actually doesn’t fight at bantamweight. Oh well.
Manvel Gamburyan defeats Cody Gibson by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:56 of round two.
Lightweights: Jon Tuck vs. Kevin Lee
22 year old Lee is -260 favorite here, one of the Las Vegas areas brightest MMA prospects. 30 year old Tuck is a Guam native who fights out of Arizona at Ben Henderson’s camp, MMA Lab.
Round One: They clinch right away, nice knee to the body by Tuck. Great high kick and big right from Lee. Good right from Tuck. Lee with a good body kick. Lee spins to Tucks back standing and hits a suplex. Tuck gets up immediately, seems the better skilled on the mat. Lee with a takedown, but Tuck right back up. Lee outlanding Tuck consistently now. Then, Lee with a low knee and action is halted (again!). They exchange until Lee presses Tuck against the cage as the round ends. 10-9, Lee.
Round Two: Tuck hits the groin on a leg kick but they work through it. Hand combo’s flying from both, Lee slightly out-landing. Tuck with a big kick to the groin, and action is again halted. A point is taken away from Tuck. Tepid striking exchange follows, and Lee with a double leg — right into side control. Tuck to half, then full guard. Tuck attacks with triangle and armbar — he moves so well off his back, but can’t quite finish. Good elbow from Lee. Stand-up for no apparent reason — another tepid striking exchange ends it. It’s 10-8 Lee with the point deduction.
Round Three: Tuck the aggressor with cut kicks and hand combo’s. Lee slowing. Tuck turns a jab into a hook nicely. Big right tags Tuck who lost his mouthpiece. Lee with a takedown against the cage. The ref stops them in a scramble to re-position the mouthpiece. Ugh. Lee with heavy ground-and-pound, elbows and punches. Tuck is bleeding badly now. Tuck trying hard to set up a triangle but no dice. Big rights from Lee as time expires. 10-9 Lee.
Judges get the obvious decision, in a so-so fight:
Kevin Lee defeats Jon Tuck by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26).
Preliminary card (to be broadcast on Fox Sports 1)
Welterweights: John Howard vs. Brian Ebersole
5’7″ “Doomsday” Howard is making his second run at the UFC, and his Muay Thai is always fun. 6’0″ Ebersole is fighting out of Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand, so we’ll see how they stack up on their feet. Howard is a -260 favorite over the old vet.
Round One: Howard the aggressor to begin, hitting a right and an uppercut. Ebersole forcing the clinch. Ebersole with a takedown, lands a few hammerfists and left hands to the head as he takes the back. Ebersole keeping the slow control with the light g’n’p. Howard shakes him off, spins to work in the guard, and Ebersole lands an up-kick. Howard had a leg down, so it was illegal and action is halted. But action goes nowhere and time runs out. 10-9 Ebersole.
Round Two: They exchange, both hitting heavy leg kicks, but action slows back down. Howard with a takedown. Ebersole defending well in half guard. Pretty good punches by Howard to head and body. Howard spins to the back, adjusting well from an Ebersole sweep attempt. Full back mount now for Howard, threatening the choke. Ebersole spins to land in Howard’s guard, but Howard gets on top again as time expires. 10-9, Howard.
Round Three: Bland standup continues, with Ebersole landing his southpaw straight left more than anything Howard throws. Howard pushes Ebersole against the cage in a clinch. Howard pushes him off, and they exchange leg kicks. Man is this a slow fight. Good leg kick from Ebersole, who then fails on takedown. Howard finally gets a little aggressive with hand combo’s and lands a few. Lousy round for both; Howard probably takes it but I’ll score it even. 10-10.
Brian Ebersole defeats John Howard by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Howard is ticked off and the decision doesn’t make much sense, but no one cares enough to get terribly upset.
Welterweights: Patrick Côté vs. Stephen Thompson
This show has been awful, hopefully these two hard-hitters will turn it around. “Wonderboy” Thompson has shown some spectacular karate-based standup in the past, and is a -450 favorite here.
Round One: They bounce in and out, Côté out of his crouch, Thompson in his typical staggered style. Old vet Côté presses Thompson against the cage for knees to the legs. Thompson turns him around, looks for the same tactic. They disengage, Thompson with jab and snapping leg kicks. Lead leg round kick lands nicely for Thompson. Thompson sprawls out of a takedown. Nice 1-2 by Thompson. Côté keeps snapping little leg kicks, but little else. 10-9, Thompson.
Round Two: Côté snapping his low kick, Thompson using the side and round leg kicks from his ever-switching sideways karate stance. But both, only in spurts.
Show's slow pace is hurting Wonderboy/Cote. Might have been an interesting interplay of styles on another show. #UFC178
— Tommy Hackett (@tommy_hackett) September 28, 2014
Thompson out-landing all the way through. Big spinning left from Thompson. 10-9, Thompson.
Round Three: More of the same from Thompson, whose movement is frustrating Côté visibly now. Côté fails on a single leg shot. Good high roundhouse kick glances the face from Thompson. Big left/right combo drops Côté and finally wakes the crowd up. Thompson can’t quite finish the old vet with his ground-and-pound though, and we make the final bell. 10-9, Thompson.
Stephen Thompson defeats Patrick Côté by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Lightweights: Jorge Masvidal vs. James Krause
Masvidal is a -400 favorite in a battle of old vets.
Round One: Much bouncing back and forth to begin. Masvidal with a good jab and body kick. Krause takes a few, grabs one and looks for takedown against the cage. Masvidal shrugs him off. Krause very upright and awkward. Masvidal very upright as well, but out-landing and more fluid. Krause gets in a body kick of his own. Great 1-2 and body kick down the stretch for Masvidal. 10-9, Masvidal.
Round Two: Krause switching stance and getting a little more active, to little effect. The hand combo’s ending in body shots are mostly landing in a slow pace. Krause with a takedown, Masvidal threatens with guillotine, uses it to roll on top. They roll to their feet. Krause tries a cartwheel kick. Masvidal controlling the pace, though. Takedown by Masvidal — and Krause rolls on top with the same guillotine technique. Scramble and Masvidal lands a big 1-2 in transition. 10-9, Masvidal.
Round Three: More of the same, with Masvidal out-landing with straight punches and that occasional body kick. Takedown by Masvidal, and Krause scrambles right back up. Another takedown, Krause scrambles up again. Masvidal walks through jabs to land combo’s and shows the greater polish in clinch and transition. 10-9, Masvidal.
Jorge Masvidal defeats James Krause by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Bantamweights: Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Mizugaki to the cage to the tune of “Numb” by Linkin Park. The returning “Dominator,” who last fought when Brock Lesnar was a UFC star, out to Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill a Man.” Cruz is a -500 favorite here.
Round One: They bounce in and out, and BOOM! Big takedown from Cruz! Cruz swarms with punches. Mizugaki bouncing up and down, tries to scramble against the cage, but the punches keep coming. He seems to fall back unconscious — and the ref steps in!
Dominick Cruz defeats Takeya Mizugaki by TKO (punches) at 1:01 of round one.
Cruz calls this the greatest moment of his career; clearly he feels he wasn’t treated fairly by the UFC — “I won’t say what I should” — but he’s happy with the performance — and so is the crowd.
Main Card (PPV)
Women’s Bantamweights: Cat Zingano vs. Amanda Nunes
Nunes uses a funky bossa nova song for her walk to the cage. She’s a good all-around fighter who may be getting overlooked with all the excitement over Zingano’s return. In fact, Zingano, a -300 favorite, earns a title shot with a win here.
Round One: Nice inside low kick and then takedown in the clinch by Nunes. Zingano in half guard. She positions to full guard, spins for armbar and almost gets it! Up-kick as Nunes disengages. Hard kick to the leg from Nunes. Big jumping right hand from Nunes! Zingano looks a little stunned and the punches keep raining down. Heavy ground-and-pound from Nunes and Zingano barely surviving. Nunes fails with a leg lock and Zingano rolls on top. A few shots. Nunes up and thrown back in something like a DDT by Zingano! Zingano working to mount as time expires. What a round. 10-9, Nunes.
Round Two: Zingano with an elbow and clinch and spins Nunes to the mat — right into side control. Good right punch to the head by Zingano as Nunes re-positions guard. Zingano steps out of guard and hits a couple of big leg kicks. Back in half guard, Cat with some punches and elbows to the head. Nunes looks for a kneebar which Cat counters with a toe hold, but neither succeed. Cat with some body shots in the guard as time expires. 10-9, Zingano.
Round Three: Zingano with a good neck clinch, snaps Nunes to the mat with that same DDT/suplex move — and steps right into mount this time. Elbows to head and body and Nunes is cut open. Zingano postures up for punches, one after another — and the fight is stopped! Big win for Zingano!
Cat Zingano defeats Amanda Nunes by TKO (punches) at 1:01 of round three.
Middleweights: Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero
Romero uses a Juan Luis Guerra song I believe. Not as bad-ass as Kennedy’s “Rooster” by Soundgarden, but then — his surname is Spanish for war… so I call it a draw. Kennedy a slight favorite here.
Round One: Nice right hand by southpaw Romero as the two box and move to begin. Good left by Romero, taking center Octagon. Kennedy bleeding from the nose. Kennedy tries a series of front kicks to little effect. Romero with a body kick, partially blocked by Kennedy. Kennedy tries to initiate a takedown but Romero scrambles out from hands-and-knees. Romero blasts in with a double leg. Kennedy bounces off the mat and is back up immediately. Kennedy looking cautious. 10-9, Romero.
Round Two: Kennedy trying that front kick again, glances a head kick as well. Romero has used punches to the legs, a la Ben Henderson, throughout this fight. Romero with a left straight off a missed Kennedy shot. Kennedy finally lands a good uppercut and tries to follow up with a double, but Romero sprawls. Kennedy looks for a guillotine off a scramble but Romero slips away. Body kick from Kennedy and a spinning back fist. They clinch to the cage. Kennedy hits an uppercut. Crowd booing. Right/left combo from Romero. Big right hand rocks Romero! Kennedy on the attack as time expires! 10-9, Kennedy.
Round Three: Romero’s corner leaves the stool in the cage and Romero needs to be wiped down, giving him extra time to recover. When the round finally begins, Romero with a big 1-2! Kennedy drops to the canvas and Romero follows up with punches and elbows for the win. What a fight!
Yoel Romero defeats Tim Kennedy by TKO (punches) at 0:58 of round three.
Romero has an odd post-fight interview. Here’s a fairly accurate transcription:
ROGAN: so Yoel what was going on at the start of round three ROMERO: I LOVE GOD, GOD CREATE STOOLS ROGAN: right, but… ROMERO: GOD USA GOD
— Chris Nelson (@3ammma) September 28, 2014
Featherweights: Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor
Conor uses Foggy Dew by Chieftains featuring Sinead O’Connor, a classic Irish ballad about the 1916 Rebellion in Dublin, followed by “Hypnotize” by Notorious B.I.G. Poirier uses “Diamonds” by Kanye. Advantage, McGregor, who is a -280 favorite here.
Round One: McGregor with a hook kick high, spinning back kick to body — neither land. Poirier with a left cross and a leg kick. McGregor with a big straight left. McGregor keeps the spinning kicks, bounces in with a big punching combo! Poirier crumbles to the mat. Punches from McGregor rain down and it’s all over!
Conor McGregor defeats Dustin Poirier by TKO at 1:46 of round one.
Lightweights: Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez
Philly boy Alvarez uses the Rocky “Eye of the Tiger” theme for his walk to the cage. Cerrone, the -140 favorite here, walks in to his usual “Cowboy” by Kid Rock. Always respect the classics say I, so advantage: Alvarez.
Round One: Both bouncing in and out — Alvarez lands the first good shot, a right. Good body kick and leg kick by Cerrone, in the more upright stance. Big right by Alvarez in the clinch! Big flurry of roundhouse punches in the clinch from Alvarez! Cerrone somehow keeps his feet. Big 1-2 from Alvarez. Nice body kick from Cerrone. Cerrone dances away from Alvarez punches, drives forward for a takedown. Alvarez back up, Cerrone glances a knee to the chin. 10-9, Alvarez.
Round Two: Cerrone more fluid here, hitting kicks to the body and reaching in for effective clinch-work on the inside. Big knees to the body from the Thai clinch. Neither guy so effective with their hand combo’s. Leg kick wobbles Alvarez. And another. Alvarez shoots a takedown to turn the tide. Cerrone stumbles away, lands another leg kick and Alvarez is really struggling now. Great knee to the body from Cerrone. 10-9, Cerrone.
Round Three: Big right hand staggers Cerrone, but he recovers to clinch and land a knee. Big right tags Alvarez. Alvarez getting backed up, Cerrone with a hand combo. Alvarez on the retreat but recovers… another big leg kick from Cerrone! Head kick from Cerrone. Alvarez switching stances as the left leg is a mess. Onslaught of punches and knees and Alvarez crumbles to the canvas. Cerrone follows and lands elbows in half guard. One minute to survive for Alvarez. Alvarez holds him close and we finish with Cerrone using some light ground-and-pound. 10-9, Cerrone.
Donald Cerrone defeats Eddie Alvarez by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Flyweights: Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso (for Johnson’s UFC flyweight championship)
Chris Cariaso out to “Lord Give Me a Sign” by DMX. Demetrious Johnson to “Go Get It” by TI. Eh. I give it to Cariaso, as that expression seems appropriate for a near 20 to 1 underdog, and DJ’s is kind of generic. The “Mighty Mouse Theme” would be an improvement.
Round One: Both bounce in an out, Cariaso trying to lance a jab and a leg kick. Johnson noticeably quicker. Takedown from DJ. DJ passes but Cariaso recovers to half, then full guard. Hammerfists from Cariaso from bottom (?). DJ with a knee to the body as Cariaso tries to rise… and another. Pressed against the cage, DJ attacking with several knees to the body. Cariaso tries to switch levels for a takedown but no dice. They disengage, body kick from DJ. Leg kick from Cariaso. Johnson with a big kick to the body and a few punches as time expires. 10-9, Johnson.
I'd say Chris Cariaso got saved by the bell (horn) there, but I don't think it did him any favors, really.
— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) September 28, 2014
Round Two: More round kicks to body and punching combo’s from DJ. Takedown DJ. DJ passes to side, lands a punch to body and elbows to head. DJ isolates an arm, takes a Kimura, and the fight is (mercifully) over.
Demtrious Johnson defeats Chris Cariaso by submission (Kimura) at 2:29 of the second round.
Damn!! In division full of fast and versatile guys, @MightyMouseUFC is fastest and most versatile
— Jimmy Smith (@jimmysmithmma) September 28, 2014
I concur. Impressive win on what ended up an impressive night for the UFC. Thank you for joining us! We’ll see you next time.