Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to pay-per-view (PPV) tonight (Sept. 27, 2014), for UFC 178: "Johnson vs. Cariaso" live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prior to the PPV main card, the event was kicked off with an enthralling start on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).
Full results and play-by-play here.
The undercard featured a bevy of enticing bouts, including the highly anticipated return of the former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
In the "Prelims" main event, Dominick Cruz returned to a raucous applause and closed out the FOX Sports 1 telecast with a sensational knockout over Takeya Mizugaki. Fighting for the first time in nearly three years, Cruz proved that he is ready to fight for the title he was stripped of earlier this year by taking out the Japanese veteran in just 61 seconds.
Check out the prelims recap below:
Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Dominick Cruz returns! The former bantamweight champion proved that he still has a lot left in the gas tank as he starched Takeya Mizugaki early on in the first round.
Round one started off, and Dominick Cruz picked up right where he left off, showing off his incredible footwork. After a short exchange, Cruz landed a sensational takedown, landing right into side control. As Mizugaki fought to get to his feet, Cruz blasted him with powerful shots that knocked Mizugaki out cold.
Jorge Masvidal vs. James Krause
Finally, a good scrap! Round one was all about Jorge Masvidal pushing the pace and pressuring James Krause. Masvidal put together some very impressive combinations, but Krause held tough landing a few shots of his own.
"Gamebred" continued his onslaught in round two, landing combinations left and right before getting taken down by Krause. Moments later, Masvidal swept Krause, landed in guard and began working his offense from there. Once Krause got to his feet, Masvidal punished him with a bevy of strikes.
Near the end of the round, Masvidal cracked Krause with a powerful combination that nearly ended the fight, but Krause was able to survive.
By round three, Masvidal's constant pressure had Krause completely exhausted as his prolonged beating continued. Krause had his best moment of the fight late in the round, as he landed a picturesque right hand that stunned Masvidal momentarily, but Gamebred quickly gathered his wits and took Krause down. In the end, Masvidal earned the impressive unanimous decision win.
Patrick Cote vs. Stephen Thompson
The first round was a battle as Stephen Thompson showed off his beautiful Karate technique, landing a plethora of innovative kicks and punches, all whilst defending Cote's numerous takedown attempts. Although Cote was not totally outclassed on his feet, it was evident that he wanted to get the fight to the mat to stifle Thompson's offense.
The pace slowed significantly in the second round as neither man really committed to any combinations. While there were a few exchanges here and there, it felt like more like watching a sparring session rather than a fight.
The boos rained down hard in round three, but "Wonderboy" answered with a late knockdown off a powerful jab. Cote, although badly rattled, fought hard to keep his wits about him as Thompson seemingly pulled off the gas and allowed the potential finish pass him by. Ultimately, Cote survived the round, but lost the unanimous decision.
Brian Ebersole vs. John Howard
Brian Ebersole and John Howard opened up the FS1 prelims with a dud of a fight, as Ebersole was given the split decision victory in a tough fight to score.
The first round was dominated by Ebersole, as he put Howard in a defensive shell on the feet, before catching a kick and taking Howard down midway through the round. Ebersole quickly got back mount, but Howard fought through it and ended up shaking Ebersole off right before the round ended.
Round two was highlighted by an impressive turnaround from "Doomsday." After landing some solid shots on the feet, Howard took Ebersole down in the clinch. After some ground and pound, Ebersole attempted a sweep that wound up having him fighting a rear naked choke as Howard got his back. After about a minute defending the choke, Ebersole spun into guard, but Howard reversed the position via another takedown to close the round.
The third round was closely contested on the feet, but Howard was undoubtedly landing the harder shots as he lit up Ebersole on the feet with sharp hooks and powerful inside leg kicks. Neither man had any turning point moment in the round that could have stolen the fight, but the judges awarded it to Ebersole.
Kevin Lee vs. Jon Tuck
Kevin Lee and Jon Tuck put on a sloppy, but entertaining battle in the second fight of the evening via Fight Pass. In the end, Lee took home the unanimous decision victory, winning his second straight UFC fight in a row.
The first round was a highly entertaining back-and-forth affair that saw wild exchanges on both the feet and the mat with Lee getting the better on most exchanges. Once again, however, the action was halted due to an inadvertent groin shot delivered by Lee. After another lengthy pause, the two men went back at it on the feet for a few moments before the round came to a close.
Round two started with yet another nut shot, but this time Kevin Lee just walked right through it. Just moments later, Tuck hit Lee low again, and this time referee Jason Herzog deducted a point from the MMA Lab product. Lee recovered, and the two men went at it once again with Lee pressuring Tuck. Lee grounded Tuck with a fantastic takedown, but was nearly submitted moments later. The round ended on the feet after a poor stand up from Herzog.
Round three was all Lee as he took Tuck down early, and rained down ground and pound that left Tuck's face a bloody and swollen mess.
Cody Gibson vs. Manny Gamburyan
The first "Prelims" fight of the evening saw Manny Gamburyan fight through multiple bad spots to get the second round submission victory over Cody Gibson.
The first round was mostly contested on the feet, with Gibson getting the better of the exchanges as Manny ate several big shots. Midway through the round, Cody had Gamburyan clinched up on the cage and caught a low blow for his troubles. On the restart, Cody had Gamburyan hurt with a right hand, but Manny got a desperate takedown that helped him survive the onslaught and round.
The second round kicked off with an exciting exchange where it looked as if Manny had Gibson stunned. Unfortunately, Gibson retaliated with a brutal low blow that had Manny in all sorts of pain. After a lengthy pause in the action, Gamburyan valiantly fought on, but caught a haymaker directly after the restart that nearly had him knocked out.
Gamburyan once again showed off his resiliency, fought through the bad spot, and ending up securing the fight-ending guillotine with under 10 seconds to go in the round.
Check out the full UFC 178 "Prelims" quick results below:
Dominick Cruz def. Takeya Mizugaki via TKO (Punches) Round 1 (1:01)
Jorge Masvidal def. James Krause via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Stephen Thompson def. Patrick Cote via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Brian Ebersole def. John Howard via Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Kevin Lee def. Jon Tuck via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Manny Gamburyan def. Cody Gibson via Submission (Guillotine Choke) Round 2 (4:56)