UFC 194, the last pay per view of the year and it closes out with a bang. A lot of action will be seen all throughout this card including names like Tecia Torres, Frankie Saenz and Urijah Faber just in the prelims. In the main card there are two title fights, one for the middleweight and the other for featherweight. A number one contender fight will take place between two of the middleweight division's top fighters and we will see the "Grappling God" Demian Maia in action. Hopefully by the time Sunday comes we can put two new faces on our slideshow.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
Leonardo Santos vs. Kevin Lee: The first fight of the prelims is in the lightweight division. Leonardo Santos has a professional record of 14-4-1. Santos has a record of 8-1-1 in his last ten fights. He has ten finishes with nine of them being in the first round. Nine of his finishes were by knockout and one by submission. Santos has a fourth degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a near 90% takedown defense. His opponent, Kevin Lee, has a professional record of 11-1. Kevin Lee is on a four fight win streak. Lee has five finishes by submission and three of them in the first round. I think this fight will be a lot more technical than violent. Both fighters will be looking to take this fight to the mat and implement their game plan which will most likely be getting the other to tap out. I tend to lean in favor of belts so I am going to say that Leonardo Santos will be able to pull off the submission victory late in the first.
Warlley Alves vs. Colby Covington: The next fight will take place in the middleweight division meaning Colby Covington will be going up a weight class. This bout will be a war of streaks as both fighters are undefeated. Warlley Alves is 10-0 with a perfect takedown defense. Alves has five wins by submission and one win by knockout, but he favors his kickboxing. Colby Covington has a record of 8-0. Covington was a 2x NCAA All-American wrestler with no surprise considering he wrestled for Iowa. He has three wins by submission and two by knockout, with three of those finishes in the first round. It’s clear that Covington will look to dominate on the ground and gain the submission while Alves will most likely want to keep this standing then once he rocks his opponent finish it how he sees fit. I believe we will see a lot of shots taken in this match and in the beginning of the fight Alves will do a great job of defending them. It will be up to Alves to finish this quickly or else I think Covington will wear him down and end this fight. I am going to favor Alves in saying he will be able to keep this fight standing and be able to finish this in the first round with a knockout or TKO.
(#5) Tecia Torres vs. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger: The third fight in the prelims will be a womens flyweight matchup between a ranked fighter and a new fighter to the UFC. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger has a record of 6-1 and is on a four fight win streak. Jocelyn has only finish and it is by submission in the first round. She also has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Her opponent is the number 5 ranked Tecia Torres. Torres has a record of 6-0. Torres has won all of her fights by decision and has a prefect takedown defense. This fight is going to be a very technical stand-up battle. Torres is not an exciting fighter and she doesn’t finish her fights, but she is very technical and knows how to beat every person put in front of her. For these reasons I am going to call that Tecia Torres will win by decision.
(#4) Urijah Faber vs. (#13) Frankie Saenz: The main event on the prelims is a bantamweight matchup. One of these fighters is on his way up while in my opinion is on his way out. Frankie Saenz is the number 13 ranked featherweight. Saenz is 11-2 and is on a seven fight win streak. Saenz has three wins by knockout and two wins by submission and three first round finishes. His opponent is the number 4 ranked Urijah Faber. Urijah has a record of 32-8 and has won six of his last eight. The reason I say Urijah is on his way out is, other than Frankie Edgar, most of his fights have been in the prelims to fighters of low rank if ranked at all. Faber is only keeping a strong record because he is only fighting people he knows he is better than and he can’t keep up with main card fighters anymore. With that being said it is possible that Faber wins this because it’s clearly in his favor, but Frankie Saenz is gaining a lot of momentum and I both hope and believe that Saenz gains the knockout in the second round.
(#5) Max Holloway vs. (#8) Jeremy Stephens: The first fight of the main card will take place in the featherweight division. Jeremy Stephens is the number 8 ranked featherweight with a 24-11 record. Stephens has 17 wins by knockout and two wins by submission. His opponent is the number 5 ranked Max Holloway. Holloway has a professional record of 14-3. He has eight finishes and six of them occurred during his current seven fight win streak. Six finishes were by knockout and two were by submission. This is going to be the most exciting matchup so far with both fighters striking very fast and pushing the pace. The only way this fight is going to last a while is if both fighters invest in good defense. However I don’t think this will consist of too much defense and I predict that Max Holloway will pick up a knockout or TKO victory somewhere in the second round.
(#6) Demian Maia vs. (#12) Gunnar Nelson: This next fight will be a welterweight fight and it will be an interesting grappling matchup. The number 12 ranked Gunnar Nelson has a professional record of 14-1-1. Nelson has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a brown belt in Karate. He has nine wins by submission and four by knockout, with 11 finishes in the first round. His opponent is the number 6 ranked Demian Maia. Maia is 21-6 and the best grappler in the UFC today. Demian Maia has a fourth degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has 10 wins by submission. Trying to grapple with Demian Maia is probably the single fastest way to lose in the UFC so Gunnar Nelson will need to keep this fight standing no matter what his grappling background may be. Unfortunately for Nelson, he will most likely not be able to keep this fight standing and Demian Maia will walk away with another victory by submission.
(#2) Ronaldo Souza vs. (#3) Yoel Romero: This next fight is a middleweight matchup and is a match to determine who will face the middleweight champion next. Yoel Romero is the number 3 ranked middleweight and has a record of 10-1. Romero has nine wins by knockout; four of them were in the first round and is on a six fight win streak. His opponent is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Jacare is the number two ranked middleweight, but he should be the number 1 and honestly his title shot is overdue. He was the number 1 ranked and somehow went down a rank after winning a couple months ago. Jacare has a pro record of 22-3 and has won 12 of his last 13 and on an eight fight win streak. Jacare has 13 wins by submission and five wins by knockout. This fight will be an absolute war and it could go anywhere and I think both fighters could hold their own. I don’t want to see either fighter lose this fight, but I think Jacare Souza is the best person in this division to fight for the title. I am going to call this Jacare winning by decision so we can all watch this fight as long as possible.
(C) Chris Weidman vs. (#1) Luke Rockhold: This is the co-main event of the night and will be a middleweight title fight. Luke Rockhold has a professional record of 14-2. Rockhold has won 13 of his last 14 fights and has 10 first round finishes. He has 12 total finishes and eight of them were by submission while the other four by knockout. Rockhold has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His opponent is the middleweight champion, Chris Weidman. Weidman has a record of 13-0 and also has a perfect takedown defense. He has six wins by knockout and three by submission with six of them in the first round. This fight is going to be intense and I’m sure will go into many rounds. Both fighters will be ready to keep this thing standing as long as they need to, but both will want to work towards the mat. While they are standing Weidman will have overconfidence in himself because of his recent wins. On the ground Weidman will want to control the top while Rockhold would be more in control on his back because of his Jiu Jitsu background. Each fighter will incorporate striking into trying to make the other tap out. I am going to call that Luke Rockhold will pick up the submission victory in the fourth round.
(C) Jose Aldo vs. (IC) Conor McGregor: The main event of the night is the long awaited title fight between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor. This fight has been a long time coming and was even delayed due to Aldo backing out of their scheduled match in July. Aldo backed out due to “injury” after an accident in training camp, even though the doctors cleared him to fight. For anyone that doesn’t know, McGregor has a mouth to back up his work and I personally think he had Aldo scared and that’s the real reason he backed out. Anyway let’s get into the stats of this fight. The Interim Champ Conor McGregor has a professional record of 18-2. McGregor has 16 wins by knockout and one by submission with 12 first round finishes. He is also on a 14 fight win streak. His opponent is the Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. Aldo has a record of 25-1 and is on an 18 fight win streak. Aldo has 15 wins by knockout and one win by submission. This is no doubt going to be a standup war at its finest. As much as I want to say Aldo is going to get dominated I just don’t believe that will be the case. I think this fight will go into the second or third round and both fighters will get banged up, but I believe Conor McGregor will walk away with the knockout victory and the true gold around his waist.
- Mike W.
I will again be picking all the fights the online prelims I will be just giving the winner as well as Tecia Torres’ fight due to the fact that I know nothing about her opponent it would be hard to give an analysis. Otherwise I will be a little in depth tonight as this might be the best fight card ever until UFC 200. So here we go.
Online Prelims (6:30 PM/ET) UFC Fight Pass:
Court McGee (16-4) vs Marcio Alexandre (13-2): This fight here in the Welterweight division to kick off the prelims here online will be an interesting one. I think Court McGee will pick up the win here in the first round with the KO.
John Makdessi (12-4) vs. Yancy Medeiros (11-3, 1NC): This fight in the Lightweight division is between two fighters looking to pick up a win and get into a ranked conversation soon. I am going to pick John Makdessi in this one with a split decision.
Joe Proctor (11-3) vs. Magomed Mustafaev (12-1): I am excited for this lightweight fight here to end the online prelims. I am going to take Joe Proctor with a 2nd round KO victory.
FOX Sports Prelims (8PM/ET):
Leonardo Santos (14-4-1) vs. Kevin Lee (11-1): To kick off the televised prelims we are going to start where we left off in the lightweight division. Kevin Lee is a machine at 23 years of age he is a future star. I am so sold on this kid he has rolled off 4 straight wins in the UFC out of the 5 he has fought. He has stopped 5 of his 11 fights, all 5 are by way of submission. He has 3 of those fights stopped in the first round. I think if Kevin Lee can improve his stand-up he could quickly climb into the rankings and head for the title one day. Now opposite of Kevin Lee is Leonardo Santos. Leonardo is a 35 year old Jiu-jitsu specialist. He has stopped 9 of his 14 by submission and one more by KO showing off how good his jiu-jitsu skills and submission game are. I think he is a tad underappreciated but he isn’t a fighter to be taken lightly because he has such a good skill set on the mat and great cardio he could grind out a win if he needed. I think this fight ends without a decision. Kevin Lee wins this thing by 2nd round submission showing this kid is for real when it comes to his skills on the mat and takes a shot for rankings.
Warlley Alves (10-0) vs. Colby Covington (8-0): Oh man what a fight here in the welterweight division between two undefeated freaks. Colby is a 27 year old star on the rise with a bright future. He has stopped 5 of his 8 wins, 3 are by way of submission and the other 2 by way of KO. He stopped 3 of those fights in the first round showing that he can come out of the corner fast and get a fight over with quickly if you underestimate him. His last win was against Mike Pyle and that impressed me and showed that this kid can do something if he continues to improve, watch out. Covington is a good wrestler with some power in his hands and is able to ground and pound his way to a win if the fight goes to the mat. His wrestling skills are backed by a good cardio providing him the ability to fight his aggressive fight style without tiring out. Now his opponent is undefeated as well and is a monster, Warlley Alves. This kid is 24 years old and is 3-0 in the UFC looking for his 4th win in the octagon. Alves has finished 6 fights, 5 by way of submission and one by KO. Those finishes can be deceiving though because he does have the power to end a fight. This guy is a freak right out of the gate as he has stopped 3 fights in under 1 minute 58 seconds. Alves in three fights so far has not been taken to the mat and that will be a real test here for Covington because he might want this fight on the mat and it won’t be easy to take to the ground. This fight is going to be so much fun and everyone should watch this thing because it’s in my opinion the best fight on the prelims. I am going to take Alves by a 1st round KO victory.
#5 (3) Tecia Torres (6-0) vs. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (6-1): This battle is in the women’s strawweight and sadly I just don’t know much about Jocelyn and I think Tecia is incredible and will pick up a 2nd round TKO.
#4 (8) Urijah Faber (32-8) vs. #13 (13) Frankie Saenz (11-2): I am not a fan of this fight at all in the Bantamweight division as the Fox Sports prelims. Frankie is a good fighter don’t get me wrong he just has a similar fight style to Urijah. Both fighters are very well-rounded and have incredible cardio and can go all 3 rounds full length at full speed. The lack of excitement comes from the simple fact that these two just like to take it slow and hug and grind out points. That is an extremely boring way of fighting that honestly just isn’t good for the sport and Urijah is way over hyped and I hope people start to see this guy isn’t really that exciting a fighter. I am having a tough one with this one but I will go with the future HOFer who has lost 6 fights while fighting for a title showing that he just can’t reach the top. But this fight isn’t for a title and it isn’t against Frankie Edgar so I am confident in Urijah here to out grind Frankie. Faber wins by unanimous decision.
Main Card (10PM/ET) PPV:
#5 (5) Max Holloway (14-3) vs. #8 (7) Jeremy Stephens (24-11): WE ARE LIVE FROM THE MGM GRAND IN LAS VEGAS NEVADA!!!! We are starting off the most stacked main card in UFC history with a heck of a battle in the featherweight division. Jeremy Stephens is a 29 year old finally seeming to put things together and looking to raise the table for a title shot one day. Stephens is a guy who has never known how to quit in his entire MMA career and his heart is legendary. Now his stand up is his strength and it’s because of his incredibly powerful hands that could stop a fight with one clean blow. This kid has stopped all but 5 of his wins by way of 17 KO/TKO’s and 2 submissions. Stephens last fight was a pretty impressive win over Dennis Bermudez in what seemed to be a really close fight until he caught him with those incredible hands and ended the fight in the third round. Stephens needs to be careful not to let this one go to the mat because I truly believe he will be outclassed there and should look to keep this fight vertical. Now his opponent is the fighter I am most excited for in the UFC. The young super star and future champion Max Holloway. Holloway is just a future legend in my opinion. This kid hasn’t lost since August 2013 and that loss was to Connor McGregor. If you look at Holloway’s 3 losses in his professional career they come to some pretty great fighters in Dennis Bermudez, Dustin Poirier, and Connor McGregor. He has finally found a way to finish fights as he is on a 7 fight win streak with 6 of them coming to finishes, he has only finished 8 fights meaning he really is now becoming a finisher. Holloway is a great stand up fighter and I wouldn’t say that Stephens has an edge on him there but Holloway is a better fighter on the mat and his win over Cub Swanson in was a performance of the night and he submitted one of the tougher guys in the UFC to submit. Holloway has great cardio and if this fight goes into the third round I think he will have a significant amount more energy than Stephens and should be able to end it there. This fight shouldn’t go the whole way. I think Holloway picks up the win and puts himself right behind Frankie Edgar at the top of this division. Holloway wins via 2nd round TKO.
#6 (4) Demian Maia (21-6) vs. #12 (11) Gunnar Nelson (14-1-1): Grapple war!!!!!! This fight in the welterweight division is going to be on the mat almost the whole time. Gunnar Nelson has stopped 13 of his 14 fights!!! Gunnar has stopped 9 fights by submission and 4 more by KO. This kid has stopped 11 of them in the very first round, Gunnar is so exciting I am having a hard time not gushing about him just because of how great this kid can be. He was awarded his black belt in BJJ from Renzo Gracie himself. Gunnar is a true submission artist having submitted 4 of his 5 wins in the UFC 4 of his 6 total fights. Nelson is facing a submission artist and BJJ legend himself though that might just out match him, maybe. But his opponent is the legend himself Demian Maia. Demian is a 4th degree black belt in BJJ and he honestly might be one of the best grapplers in the WORLD not just the UFC. He isn’t the best fighter standing and I think if Gunnar wants to win this thing he should use his brown belt in Karate and keep this thing standing. There is not a quicker way in the UFC to lose than try and out grapple Demian, truly it is a guaranteed way to lose a fight. This will either be over quick when they go to the ground because Maia ends it or they will somehow stay standing and Nelson will win, it’s tough to decide which way it will go though. The odds are even as well for the betting odds which makes this even harder no help in opinion. I know Mike took Maia and I think he has a fair argument, that being said I am going to pick Nelson in the most shocking type of victory, Nelson wins by 2nd round RNC submission victory, SAY WHAT?!? No joke.
#2 (1) Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (22-3, 1NC) vs. #3 (3) Yoel Romero (10-1): SHHHHH don’t talk to me, this fight is going to steal fight of the night. I, along with all UFC fans, have been waiting for this fight for a long time. Ok this fight in the Middleweight division will be for the number one contender for the title, there is no doubt about that. Romero is the most powerful man in the UFC by a long shot. He has won 6 in a row entering this fight and has stopped 9 of his 10 fights by KO. 4 of his wins are in the very first round and his last fight against Lyoto Machida in a fight where he brutalized a legend. Yoel is so strong and his ground game is under appreciated and he does have the skills on both wrestling and BJJ to at least deserve respect from his opponents. Now his opponent is the guy I believe should be facing Weidman tonight over Rockhold and is dying for his title shot. This guy’s name is Jacare Souza, he is a freak of freaks. He is a future legend in my eyes. He has rolled off 12 wins in his last 13 fights, 8 of them straight. This guy has stopped 18 of his 22 wins, 13 of them by submission and 5 more by way of KO. Now the most impressive part of these wins is that he has finished 15, FIFTEEN of them in the VERY FIRST ROUND! This guy is so good and I can’t figure out why he gets no credit for the skills he has and the proof is in the record and his past 13 fights. It’s obvious his submission game is strong but his incredible strength and ability to stop a fight with his hands shouldn’t be forgotten. Granted most fights you will see him use his amazing takedown abilities and he will land some great looking takedowns. I honestly think Romero could win this thing and it wouldn’t shock me at all but I am going with one of my favorite fighters to ever step in the Octagon. Souza wins by submission in the 1st round after coming out strong and displaying he is ready for the winner of the next fight.
(C) Chris Weidman (13-0) vs. #1 (2) Luke Rockhold (14-2): The Co-main event of the evening is a Middleweight title bout and I will tell you now that I have no idea who will win this thing and it will be so close and could go either way. That being said everyone says Weidman is the best wrestler and best fighter on the mat in this division but I disagree entirely, I think Rockhold is better on the ground. Weidman is undefeated don’t get me wrong but has beaten Machida which took him all 5 rounds in which Rockhold submitted in 2 rounds, Belfort who is 38 years old, and Silva twice who was caught screwing around and then to a broken leg. That isn’t quite honestly the most impressive score card honestly on wins, only due to it being that point in their careers. Every single win before those title fights were against nobodies who aren’t anything in the UFC now a days and this fight is the fight where he has to impress me. Rockhold handed Machida his ass in their fight, after beating Souza, Costas, Boestsch, and Bisping. Granted again most of them have been out of their primes during those wins with the exception of Souza. Looking at it though I just am more impressed by Luke when I watch him fight then I am with Weidman so I am going with the “upset” Rockhold wins the title 4th round submission victory.
(C) Jose Aldo (25-1) vs. (IC) Connor McGregor (18-2): All the Trash Talking has finally landed the fight. The battle for the unified featherweight title is finally here. This fight is going to be fun and just AHHHH IM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!! Connor I believe got in the mind of Aldo and scared him away the first time they were meant to battle, but this new approach of not saying anything has played into Aldo’s hands he seems really relaxed coming in. Connor is one of the most unorthodox fights in the UFC and he trash talks more than anyone but he backs it up and will continue to do so in his entire career. Aldo hasn’t lost since 2005. That being said he hasn’t fought since October 2014 and has only fought 4 fights since the beginning of 2013. He seems to be injured a lot and not taking many fights. McGregor is always ready to scrap and is a more aggressive human being. Aldo is one of the best fighters in the world I will give him that I just wish he would stay healthy and fight more often. I really am torn to pieces because I like McGregor and Aldo both in their own different ways. This fight uhhhh it is so hard I really can’t figure out where this is going. I truly believe Aldo is the faster fight and more calm but is that an advantage over stronger, smarter, and crazy? McGregor is just so crazy and he knows if he loses this fight his reputation takes a huge hit because of all the smack he was laying down. I think the crazy dude just comes out and uses shock and awe and sends Aldo into a new weightclass or retirement whichever he feels best. McGregor wins by 1st round KO just like he said he would. (Wouldn’t be shocked if Aldo does get this win though).
- Matt Koontz.