The bout order of the highly anticipated UFC 178 card has been unveiled, headlined by a UFC flyweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Chris Cariaso. The card also features the return of Dominick Cruz, as he will meet Takeya Mizugaki, winner of five-straight, on the preliminary portion of the event, airing on FOX Sports 1.
Former UFC bantamweight title holder Dominick Cruz will return to action for the first time in almost three years, after a string of injury setbacks led to questions surrounding a potential retirement from the sport. Cruz was forced to vacate his bantamweight title due to inactivity after first suffering a torn ACL in May 2012 before undergoing two surgeries on the injury.
Still just 28 years of age, Cruz was scheduled to return to action against Renan Barao in February, before being forced out of the contest due to a torn groin. As a result, after almost 30 months out of action, ‘The Dominator’ was forced to hand over his title to the then-interim champ Barao.
A lot has happened since Dominick Cruz last stepped foot inside the cage – his last opponent, Demetrious Johnson, has dropped a weight class, won the flyweight title and defended it four times and looking more impressive with every defence.
Renan Barao has lost for the first time since 2005, ending a 22-fight winning streak in the process. TJ Dillashaw has become the champion to the surprise of many, with Raphael Assuncao, Bryan Caraway and Johnny Eduardo all emerging as contenders in the division.
In Takeya Mizugaki, Cruz will face a tough test in his return, and if he can show few signs of almost-guaranteed ring rust, a title bout could follow in 2015. Mizugaki has gone 7-2 inside the Octagon, defeating the likes of Francisco Rivera, Bryan Caraway and Erik Perez in an impressive streak.
The official order for UFC 178 can be found below.
Demetrious Johnson (c) vs. Chris Cariaso
Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez
Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor
Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero
Cat Zingano vs. Amanda Nunes
Preliminary Card (FOX Sports 1)
Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Jorge Masvidal vs. James Krause
Patrick Côté vs. Stephen Thompson
John Howard vs. Brian Ebersole
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Jon Tuck vs. Kevin Lee
Manny Gamburyan vs. Cody Gibson