UFC 178 Fight Breakdown: Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso

demetrious-johnson-vs-chris-cariaso-ufc-177The main event of UFC 178 is a five-round title fight between UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and Chris Cariaso. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Johnson is a -1375 favorite (bet $1375 to win $100) while Cariaso is a +900 underdog (bet $100 to win $900). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened up Johnson at -1425 and Cariaso at +675, and the line on Johnson remains sky-high as the betting public believe he easily wins this fight. Like everyone else, I agree this is a mismatch and I too highly favor Johnson to win this fight. Here’s why. Johnson (20-2-1) is the UFC flyweight champion and one of the finest pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. Just 28 years of age, the American has shown constant improvement from fight to fight and at this point he seems unstoppable against anyone in his weight class. So far he’s 8-1-1 in the UFC with wins over Ali Bagautinov, John Moraga, John Dodson, Joseph Benavidez (x2), Ian McCall, Miguel Torres and KID Yamamoto, a draw to McCall, and his lone loss coming to Dominick Cruz at 135lbs. Since moving to 125lbs, Johnson has looked nothing short of spectacular. He has awesome wrestling, both offensively and defensively, his striking is improving, his Thai clinch is impressive, his cardio is sick, and his chin has held up well. In short, he’s one of the best in the world. He was originally set to rematch Dodson but after Dodson suffered an injury, the UFC called upon Cariaso to step up for the title shot and if Johnson can defeat him in impressive fashion to increase his win streak, he’ll continue to move up the pound-for-pound ranks. And as you can see based on the odds, most bettors figure this is what’s going to happen this weekend at UFC 178. Cariaso (17-5) is a long-time vet of the sport and is earning this UFC title shot after going 7-3 in the promotion with three-straight wins in his last three outings over Louis Smolka, Danny Martinez and Iliarde Santos. Some criticized the UFC’s decision to put the 33-year-old American in this title fight, but the 125lb division is shallow and Johnson didn’t have many other fresh faces to fight. And certainly Cariaso is a solid fighter in his own right. He has some of the most technical kickboxing in the division with the ability to throw kicks with power from all sorts of crazy angles and he has the cardio to keep the pace up for a full three rounds. But can he keep it up for 25 minutes? It’s a big question. Unfortunately for Cariaso, though, while he’s a solid fighter, he’s not an elite fighter, and anything less than a lucky punch likely won’t be enough to beat Johnson. Cariaso is a huge underdog heading into this fight, and while he’s a better fighter than most give him credit for, I think this is a nightmare matchup for him and, like everyone else, I’d be shocked if he found a way to win it. I believe Johnson will use his wrestling to take Cariaso down and beat him up on the floor for 25 minutes or less. Many think Johnson will win a decision like in his last fight, but I actually think he is so much better than Cariaso that he should be able to finish him within the five rounds. At -1375, there isn’t a ton of value in the Mighty Mouse monelyline, but I still believe this is a favorite-or-pass situation and can’t blame anyone who parlays him. But the bet I like the most here are Mighty Mouse inside the distance at +100, and the fight doesn’t go the distance at -110. I think he finishes this fight so at a Pick ’em price those props are well worth playing, as far as I’m concerned, and actually hold quite a bit of value.

Written by Adam Martin.

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