At UFC 178 tonight, Cariaso will take on the UFC’s #4 pound-for-pound, ranked fighter, and here’s some of what he had to say about the match-up in a recent interview with UFC.com:
“Every fight, I had Demetrious in the back of my mind,” Cariaso said. “No matter who I was fighting, whether it was Smolka or Horiguchi or whoever, because at the end of the day, that’s who I wanted to fight. That was the guy. So I might be training for a particular style, but I was always training to eventually fight Demetrious. So when they gave me the call to make that switch, it was an easy transition. Okay, now I get to fight him for real.”
That’s an interesting revelation from Cariaso, who certainly has been around the block and knows what it takes to score big wins. Since he was decisioned by Jussier “Formiga” in May, 2013, the talented striker has recorded consecutive wins over lliarde Santos, Danny Martinez and Louis Smolka.
The talented striker also offered this tactical take on the bout:
“I think I have a good contrasting style to Demetrious and I think he’s beatable,” Cariaso said. “He’s not one of those guys like Anderson Silva where you’re like ‘shoot, how are you going to beat that guy?’ I feel like he’s beatable and the way I look at it, I’m the underdog, but that’s no pressure on me. All the pressure’s on him, and I’ve got nothing to lose. When you have nothing to lose, you’re a dangerous guy to fight.”
This is true, but none of this conjecture has evidently influenced the oddsmakers much, as some betting lines have Cariaso as a +950 underdog. Some of this has to do with the fact that Cariaso was tapped for a title shot, even though he’s not currently ranked in the top five. The flyweight is currently ranked #8.
On the other hand, a lot of it is because Johnson has been rolling as of late, as the champ has won six in a row and has finished Joseph Benavidez and John Moraga during that time. In terms of athleticism, speed and skill, there aren’t a lot of dudes out there who can match “Mighty Mouse” these days.
As a result, if Cariaso wins, he’s going to shock a ton of people and make some gambling folks a nice bit of cash.
UFC 178 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and it will also feature Donald Cerrone vs. Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor.
If everything pans out as it should, be prepared to spend a lot of time on the edge of your seat…