In one of the more arousing fight cards of the year, it’s not the main event that has fans from every coordinate in the world on blast.

After nearly three years of a sideline view, former bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz, returns to the Octagon in a stepping-stone bout with Takeya Mizugaki. Combine that with Eddie Alverez’s UFC debut against Donald Cerrone, you have something exceptional.

But I have yet to mention the card’s most anticipated bout in Dustin Poirier vs. Ireland’s own, Conor McGregor.

There’s a lot to be energized about this Saturday night as the UFC travels to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV for UFC 178.

It’s about to go down and The MMA Corner’s Josh Davis (5-3) and Garrett Derr (5-3) are here to break down the main card.

 

Cat Zigano vs. Amanda Nunes

Davis: Anybody who follows MMA, especially women’s MMA, knows about the struggles of Cat Zingano. First, she blows out her knee, losing her opportunity to coach on TUF and fight Ronda Rousey for the title. If that wasn’t enough, she suffered the loss of her husband. Now she is healed both mentally and physically, and is ready to get back to fighting, but she does not have an easy opponent in Nunes. I fully expect for Nunes to come out in the first round firing on all cylinders and really taking Zingano into deep waters. However, the longer this fight goes, the better things will play out for Zingano as I look for her to find her range in the second and third rounds. I believe that Zingano will start slow and finish fast while walking away with the victory.

Prediction: Zingano by KO, Round 3

Derr: Rewind 17 months and Nunes gets run through like a freight train. It’s no longer 2013 and Zigano hasn’t fought in quite some time. Nunes has grown leaps and bounds since linking up with the world’s top promotion. Two fights and two first round finishes have gotten Nunes to this stage. Even still, Zingano is way too skilled and lacks in nothing. Zingano may display glimpses of reservation, but she’ll settle in and get back to the old Cat that we all know and love.

Prediction: Zigano by KO, Round 2

 

Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero

Davis: Tim Kennedy has quietly dominated every opponent he has fought outside of Luke Rockhold with his workman style of fighting. And it is exactly that style of fighting that makes his fights so hard to side with. He looked excellent in the beat down he put on Michael Bisping. I digress though; Kennedy has proven that he should be given big name fights and be presented the opportunity to put himself “in the mix”. Romero, on the other hand, is a horse of a different color. He’s a knockout powerhouse and has brutalized opponents like no other. He has world class wrestling and dynamite in his hands. I see Romero earning the biggest win of his career when he defeats Kennedy.

Prediction: Romero by KO, Round 2

Derr: I’ve battled back-and-forth with this one for a while. My heart says Kennedy, but my gut is screaming Romero. This bout could have earnest implications on the middleweight division, if these high-profiled wrestlers don’t lay and pray. Romero is the stronger fighter and will overpower Kennedy against the cage and in the clinch. Unless Kennedy can put the former Olympian away, he’ll have an arduously difficult time controlling this type of opponent. It’ll be all Romero in this one.

Prediction: Romero by Decision

 

Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor

Davis: Is it possible to not love this fight? These guys match up very well against each other. I would give Poirier the edge in wrestling and grappling, while McGregor takes the cake with his striking. Poirier is the younger fighter of the two, but he has more fights at featherweight than anyone else in UFC history. The hatred these two have for each other should result in some fireworks early. This is a toss up, and today my coin lands on Poirier.

Prediction: Porier by Decesion

Derr: Out with the Diaz brothers, in with McGregor. While he shows up on time for media-related events, “The Notorious” has had plenty to say leading up to his clash with Poirier. And I’m not convinced it won’t affect Poirier come fight night. If Poirier can brush off McGregor’s mental game, he has the standup to brawl with the best of them. Chances are Poirier’s emotions will get the best of him. He’ll come out of the gate like a loose cannon, and McGregor will make him pay for it.

Prediction: McGregor by KO, Round 2

 

Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez

Davis: I love this matchup for Alvarez because it will really show the world what Alvarez has to offer against the best fighters in the UFC. With that being said, I think Alvarez is going to struggle in this fight. Not because he can’t compete in the UFC, because he can, but because Cerrone isn’t an ideal matchup for anyone. Alvarez won’t be able to out-strike Cerrone, nor will he be able to take him to the ground and control him there. Cerrone will be able to use his superior striking, size, length, and reach to lead the dance in this fight and get the victory.

Prediction: Cerrone by Decision

Derr: Cerrone doesn’t have a care in the world. If there’s cold hard cash on the line, “The Cowboy” is game. There’s no denying the 2014 Cerrone has had up until this point, as he’s finished each of his three opponents. But he’s yet to square off with an Eddie Alvarez. The Philadelphia native will prove he’s far more worthy than a #14 position in the UFC’s latest lightweight rankings. He won’t finish Cerrone, but he’ll do enough to outclass his opponent to an enormous Octagon debut. Watch and see.

Prediction: Alvarez by Decision

 

Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso

Davis: Could we have been blessed with a better main event? Probably. Can we do anything about it now? No. I will say though, do not sleep on this fight. While I do not think that Cariaso is going to come out on top, I do think he could make it exciting for a few rounds. With that said, Johnson is on a completely different level and should be able to win this fight with ease.

Prediction: Johnson by KO, Round 3

Derr: To say that Cariaso earned this shot at flyweight gold would be an extreme exaggeration. If a split decision win over Louis Smolka earns you a title shot, well, then sign me up. In all reality, Cariaso doesn’t have the skills to finish opponents and he certainly won’t be finishing Johnson. This is my bold prediction—Cariaso doesn’t get finished either. Mighty Mouse will use that whiplash type speed to pick apart his opponent. I suspect a less than thrilling main event that has Johnson’s hand raised when all is said and done.

Prediction: Johnson by Decision

 

Follow @JoshDavisMMA and @GarrettDerr on Twitter.