UFC Fight Night 178 takes place this coming Saturday night in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley
For the first time since his rampant rise to prominence, Covington will becoming off a loss when he steps into the Octagon on Saturday night, and a nasty one at that, having had his jaw broken by Kamaru Usman in their title fight.
In fairness to Covington, the fight with Usman was very competitive, but nevertheless you do wonder if that has taken a toll on him mentally heading into this fight, although the same could also be said of former champ Woodley, who has lost his last two fights in a row and not looked good at all in the process.
Woodley is now 39-years-old and frustratingly seems to lack the killer instinct at this stage in his career, often appearing to want to fight overly-cautiously in a fashion that suggests he’s more focused on not losing rather than winning decisively.
That’s something we’ve never seen from Covington, who is all about overwhelming his opponents with a massive volume of strikes, relentlessly chained takedown attempts and never-ending cardio.
The good news for Woodley is that will afford him opportunities to unleash his counter-striking more often than when an opponent is willing to oblige him in a staring contest, and with his thunderous punching power that makes him very dangerous.
However, the signs are that Woodley doesn’t respond well to pressure-heavy fighters, has questionable cardio, and though he too has a strong wrestling background he’s been susceptible to being taken down, which bodes well for Covingo, who just seems like the much hungrier fighter and unless he gets starched by a single punch should be able to outwork ‘T’Wood’ to earn a decision victory here.
Colby Covington wins by decision.
Donald Cerrone vs. Niko Price
Unfortunately we’ve now reached the stage in Cerrone’s career where we can’t judge him purely by his skills, but also have to taken into consideration his age and durability as his desire to fight as often as he can has inevitably taken a toll on him, leading to four losses in a row – including three by TKO.
In fairness, most of those fights were against elite competition, whereas Price doesn’t fit into that category. Instead he’s an intense action fighter who lives and dies by the sword, as evidenced by having won 3 of his last six fights by KO, while being either KO’d or TKO’d in the other three.
Skill-wise Cerrone is still the better technical fighter here, but Price is an instinctive finisher with good power who can catch opponents unexpectedly and from awkward angles.
Despite his love of thrilling stand-up battles, Cerrone is actually very good on the mat and the majority of his finishes have still come by way of submission, and at this late stage in his career it would be wise to focus more on that than slugging it out on the feet.
However, I think Price is the kind of fighter who will be able to lure ‘Cowboy’ into a stand-up war and with the veteran’s chin and body both being vulnerable I think he will eventually succumb to a TKO finish in a match-up that a few years ago I’d have favored him to win.
Niko Price wins by TKO in Rd2.
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Gerald Meerschaert
After two wins in the space of ten days on Fight Island and being favorably compared to Khabib Nurmagomdov, Chimaev has quickly been thrust into the spotlight as a potential star of the future, and he appears to be taking it all in his stride.
This will be an interesting test of his skills though as the very talented wrestler will be facing a very experienced fighter in Meerschaert who is also a good grappler in his own right with numerous wins via submission over the course of his long career, and he’s a more natural middleweight than his opponent, who fluctuates between 170lbs and 185lbs.
However, it also has to be noted that overall Meerschaert has went just 6-5 in his UFC run to date and was TKO’d quickly last time out.
Meerschaert lacks athleticism at the best of times and that should be quite clear in this match-up as Chimaev will be the significantly faster fighter here and I think he will prove to have the edge wherever the fight goes.
This should be a good showcase for his dominant wrestling though as he gets Meerschaert down and gradually mauls him with ground and pound to secure a TKO stoppage by the second round.
Prediction: Khamzat Chimaev to win by TKO in Rd2.
Johnny Walker vs. Ryan Spann
Walker’s stint in the UFC so far has certainly been entertaining, particularly in his first few fights where he marked himself out as one to watch with a series of spectacular highlight reel stoppages, but as deadly as his offense can be, weaknesses in his defense have since been exposed both on the feet and the mat in his last two outings, taking a good bit of the wind out of his sails.
Spann hasn’t had the same fanfare as Walker, instead quietly compiling a four-fight winning streak in the promotion with a more workmanlike set of skills, being a solid striker with decent wrestling and a dangerous guillotine choke that’s finished multiple opponents.
Walker’s recent losses will surely have been a good learning experience for him and hopefully he’ll have addressed some of the holes in his game leading into this one as he does have potential. He’ll be the bigger offensive threat in this fight and I’m not sure Spann will be able to deter him from unleashing his offensive arsenal and that will lead to an early TKO finish here.
Johnny Walker wins by by TKO in Rd1.
Mackenzie Dern vs. Randa Markos
So far Dern’s UFC career hasn’t exactly gone according to plan, but she remains an elite grappler and at 27-years-old there’s still time for her to live up to her full potential in the Octagon.
Markos record is far from impressive, going 10-8-1 so far, but she’s not a bad fighter. However, her biggest strength is her wrestling and that’s a big concern here given that going to ground with Dern’s razor-sharp BJJ seems like a recipe for disaster.
That leaves Markos having to make her mark on the feet, but it’s an area in which she’s never really excelled. To be fair, Dern is a very raw striker and is vulnerable to being hit, but she does have notable power and against someone of Markos ability she might just be able to hold her own until the opportunity to get the fight to the ground opens up.
Dern’s takedowns aren’t the best, so that could be a problem, but I don’t think Markos’s striking is potent enough to keep her at bay and she will eventually get to the mat and seal a submission victory.
Mackenzie Dern wins by submission in Rd2.
Kevin Holland vs. Darren Stewart
Both fighter’s here are getting a quick return to action, with both having emerged victorious a little over a month ago as Stewart showed there’s more to his game than just hard-hitting striking as he logged his first submission victory, while Holland earned a KO stoppage at the same event.
Physically Holland is the bigger man here with a 3″ height differential in his favor and a very significant 7″ reach advantage too. However, Stewart is the physically stronger of the two and has the greater punching power.
While Stewart’s recent submission win was a feather in his cap, I do believe Holland will still have a distinct advantage on the mat here and if he focuses primarily on that while keeping the fight at his range on the feet then he should be able to emerge with a decision victory here.
Kevin Holland wins by decision.
Darrick Minner vs. T.J. Laramie
Randy Costa vs. Journey Newson
Tyson Nam vs. Jerome Rivera
Jordan Espinosa vs. David Dvorak
Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Sarah Alpar
Mayra Bueno Silva vs. Mara Romero Borella
Andre Ewell vs. Irwin Rivera