“The Dominator” is back. The UFC announced yesterday that former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is returning from a near three-year injury layoff at UFC 178, and his opponent in his return will be none other than perennial contender Takeya Mizugaki. UFC 178 takes place September 27 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at a yet-to-be-announced venue. The main event is the UFC light heavyweight title fight rematch between champion Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson. The fight between Cruz and Mizugaki makes a lot of sense from both a ranking and matchmaking perspective. Although Cruz has been out for three years, he absolutely deserved a top opponent in his return and Mizugaki certainly qualifies. Should Cruz take out Mizugaki, he should get a crack at the belt he was forced to give up due to injury. As for Mizugaki, he has won five fights in a row and if he beats Cruz, the UFC will have to give him a crack at the belt as well. The betting odds should be relatively close but I do think that even despite the layoff Cruz will be an ever-so-slight favorite heading into the matchup as he will likely still get respect from the betting public even despite his long layoff. In addition to Mizugaki vs. Cruz, a high-profile middleweight match between Yoel Romero and Tim Kennedy was also added to UFC 178. Both Romero and Kennedy are ranked in the top 10 at 185lbs and the winner of this matchup will be very close to a title shot. This is a tough fight to call because although Romero is an explosive beast with amazing wrestling credentials and knockout power, Kennedy is one of the most durable fighters in the division and also one of the strongest. Should Romero shoot on Kennedy, Kennedy could very well stop the takedowns and on the feet, although Romero has more pure knockout power, Kennedy could hold his own. Heck, he might even be able to take Romero down himself. This is a close fight to call but based on the hype behind Romero and the continual lack of respect for Kennedy in betting lines, look for Romero to be a slight favorite in this fight. But it’s a very close matchup and it would not shock me at all if Kennedy stopped the Romero hype train this September in Las Vegas. UFC 176 Cancelled, Fights Moved The UFC announced yesterday that UFC 176 has been cancelled after no suitable headliner could be found in time and the bouts that were previously scheduled for the event have been moved to other fight cards. These fights have been moved to other cards thus far:
- Bobby Green vs. Abel Trujillo (to UFC Fight Night 47)
- Zach Makovsky vs. Jussier Formiga (to UFC Fight Night 47)
- Tony Martin vs. Beneil Dariush (to UFC Fight Night 49)
- Tony Ferguson vs. Danny Castillo (to UFC 177)
- Bethe Correia vs. Shayna Baszler (to UFC 177)
- Jacare Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi (UFC Fight Night 50)
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