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Next matches to make for UFC 178 main card winners in Las Vegas

After an exhilarating UFC 178: "Johnson vs. Cariaso" event, ponders what is next for the main card winners who picked up victories Saturday (Sat., Sept. 27, 2014) on pay-per-view (PPV) inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 178 was one of the most anticipated events of the year, and it more than lived up to the enormous hype. The pay-per-view (PPV) card highlighted 11 captivating bouts Saturday night (Sept. 27, 2014) live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the main event of the evening, Demetrious Johnson dominated unheralded challenger Chris Cariaso en route to a kimura submission victory in the second round. The win was Johnson's seventh straight inside the Octagon, and his fifth UFC title defense.

See it go down right here.

The co-main event featured an enthralling battle between two of the world's best lightweights as Donald Cerrone welcomed Eddie Alvarez to the UFC. The former Bellator champion started hot against "Cowboy" but ultimately faded late as he succumbed to brutal leg kicks. In the end, Cerrone garnered the unanimous decision victory, winning his fifth straight fight.

Video highlights here.

Also on the main card was the Conor McGregor's coming out party, as he starched No. 5 ranked featherweight Dustin Poirier en route to a first-round finish (replay). Yoel Romero won his fifth straight fight, albeit in controversial fashion, as he knocked out Tim Kennedy just one minute into the third round (watch it). In the PPV opener, Cat Zingano returned to the Octagon and proved she is the No. 1 women's bantamweight contender with a third round technical knockout victory over Amanda Nunes.

With that quick recap, it is now time to play matchmaker with our "Next Matches To Make."

Winner: Cat Zingano

Who Should She Fight Next: Ronda Rousey

Set it in stone, Cat Zingano will be facing off against Ronda Rousey for the UFC women's bantamweight title in January 2015. UFC President Dana White confirmed during the post-fight press conference that Zingano would indeed be Rousey's next challenger, and that her win tonight was a way to have the UFC "shut up about the Gina Carano fight."

With her come-from-behind victory last Saturday, Zingano re-earned her title shot against Rousey that was taken from her after suffering a knee injury following her victory over Miesha Tate in her UFC debut last April.

Winner: Yoel Romero

Who Should He Fight Next: Tim Kennedy or Ronaldo Souza

Although Yoel Romero defeated Tim Kennedy via technical knockout in the third round, his win will forever be shrouded in a veil of controversy. After the former Olympian was nearly finished at the end of the second stanza, Romero was given an extra 30 seconds on the stool due to too much Vaseline being put on his eye and his corner failing to remove said stool. Although Dana White noted that it was the UFC and commission's fault, and not Romero's corner, the facts are that Romero was given much needed extra time to recover.

If the UFC and Romero want to erase any doubt, these two will rematch in the co-main event of some future Fight Night card. Considering the fight won "Fight of the Night" honors, as both men were nearly finished multiple times, you would be hard pressed to find someone disagreeing with a potential rematch.

If the UFC opts to move along with this result, then Romero's next challenge must be against the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, Ronaldo Souza.

With Chris Weidman's title defense pushed back to February, the UFC will be forced to have the two top contenders battle it out for the No. 1 contender spot. "Jacare" is 4-0 in the UFC, while Romero is 5-0 in the UFC. Expect this fight to main event a Brazilian Fight Night card in early 2015.

Winner: Conor McGregor

Who Should He Fight Next: Jose Aldo or Chad Mendes

Conor McGregor is poised to be a superstar, so why prolong the inevitable?

Everything the Irishman has said thus far in the UFC has gone on to happen, so if he believes he will fight for the belt next, why should we not believe him?

The UFC is not flying McGregor out to Brazil to watch Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes duke it out for the title at UFC 179 for fun. The UFC is flying him out so that they can announce that he is the new No. 1 contender to whomever the champion may be.

With other top contenders staying busy, namely Cub Swanson vs. Frankie Edgar, the timeline is set for McGregor to get a UFC title shot next.

Winner: Donald Cerrone

Who Should He Fight Next: Khabib Nurmagomedov or Myles Jury

Donald Cerrone "doesn't give a s**t about the title." Those were "Cowboy's" own words this past week at the UFC 178 media day when asked what motivates him. Instead, Cerrone noted that he is motivated to fight more, and we have no qualms whatsoever with that.

If Cerrone wants a quick turnaround, No. 8 ranked Myles Jury is a great opponent. Jury just knocked out former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi back in Japan last weekend, and he needs another marquee win before he can be considered a top five lightweight. Cerrone will get another fight, plus another opportunity for a bonus against a striker like Jury, so why not?

If Cerrone opts to wait for a No. 1 contender fight, then he will be forced to take on the stifling style of Khabib Nurmagomedov when he returns to action in early 2015. Cerrone was initially slated to fight "The Eagle" at UFC 178, but a knee injury to the undefeated Dagestani just minutes after the bout was signed halted those plans in their tracks.

Considering Cerrone will most definitely want a quicker return, a fight with Nurmagomedov probably would not occur until "Cowboy" gets back in the cage at least one more time.

Winner: Demetrious Johnson

Who Should He Fight Next: The winner of the Ian McCall vs. John Lineker

"Mighty Mouse" proved once again last night that he is among the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Although the result was expected, Johnson had immense pressure going into the bout to not falter and make a statement that Chris Cariaso did not deserve to share the Octagon with him.

Ultimately, Johnson passed with flying colors, showing new wrinkles in his game en route to a dominant submission victory in the second round. For a fighter that took a ton of flak for not finishing fights over the past two years, he has now dusted three of his last four opponents.

What more could we possibly ask for?

Johnson undoubtedly deserves a vacation, but when he returns he will be facing off against either John Lineker or Ian McCall. Those two top-tier flyweights battle it out for the No. 1 contender spot in November, as McCall looks to get his third crack at Demetrious while Lineker looks to prove he can consistently make the 125-pound limit.

The best option would of course be a rematch with electric flyweight John Dodson, but ACL surgery and rehab will have "The Magician" on the sidelines until midway through 2015. Demetrious will definitely return to the Octagon before Dodson does, and we may not see those two rematch until June or July of next year.

That's a wrap.

For more results and fallout from UFC 178 including play-by-play, videos, reactions, recaps, and more, check out our "Johnson vs. Cariaso" live story stream right here.

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