UFC 194 Preview
Aldo vs McGregor finally happens
We at Three Point Stance Magazine love all kinds of sanctioned violence.
UFC 194 is the most anticipated & stacked card in all of MMA history. The Notorious One Conor McGregor will finally square off with the number one pound for pound fighter in the world Jose Aldo. Also, in the co-main event middleweight champion Chris Weidman puts his belt on the line against his strongest test yet in former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold.
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1):
Urijah Faber vs Frankie Saenz
This will be the only fight on the preliminary card in these predictions, solely because who doesn’t love them some California Kid? Urijah Faber is one of the all-time greats in the featherweight division from his time in the WEC and is now a top draw in the bantamweight division in the UFC. He is strong in all aspects of his game, one of the best wrestlers in the division and a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The game plan for Urijah will be to take this fight to the ground and maul his opponent, and look for the rear naked choke finish.
Frankie Saenz is somewhat of an unknown to some UFC fans, but he is 3-0 so far in his UFC career. Saenz is not great in any specific area of MMA but he is proficient in all areas. He is known for grinding out victories, in his 11 total wins only 5 have not gone to the judges’ decisions. Saenz was the flyweight champion in King of the Cage, one of the top smaller MMA promotions. Faber will just be too much for him and Saenz will be outclassed every step of the way.
Prediction: Urijah Faber via 2nd round rear naked choke
UFC 194 Main Card
Max Holloway vs Jeremy Stephens
What a way to kick off this card. Two guys who can stop the fight at any moment in time, but two very talented guys in Max Holloway and Jeremy Stephens. Holloway has been on a roll as of late, since losing a unanimous decision to Conor McGregor in August of 2013 he has won his last 7 fights in a row, 5 of which by stoppage. Holloway can knock his opponent out, just as quickly as he can submit him.
Jeremy Stephens on the other hand is looking to bounce back a bit after losing two of his last three fights. Two of those fights were against tough opponents in Cub Swanson and Charles Oliveira, two fighters who Max Holloway have beaten in his last two fights. MMA math doesn’t always work though, the match ups really dictate the fight. In order for Stephens to win he must look to grind this fight out and dictate a slower pace, easier said than done.
Prediction: Max Holloway via 1st round KO
Demian Maia vs Gunnar Nelson
If you love Brazilian jiu-jitsu as much as I do, then this is going to be your fight of the night. Demian Maia is a true veteran of the sport and one of the best jiu-jitsu guys in the sport today. Maia is also on a 3 fight win streak including his last win over the very talented Neil Magny by, you guessed it, submission finish. In fact, out of his 21 professional MMA victories, 10 have come by way of a submission finish.
Gunnar Nelson though is no slouch when it comes to Brazilian jiu-jitsu as he is also a black belt and likes to use submissions to end fights. In 16 total victories, Nelson has won a total of 10 of those by way of submission. Nelson has only lost one fight in his MMA career and it was a controversial split decision to Rick Story. Nelson then followed that up by submitting the very dangerous Brandon Thatch in his previous fight. This is a close one to call, but I will take the younger fighter who I think can win the majority of the exchanges on the feet.
Prediction: Gunnar Nelson via Unanimous Decision
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs Yoel Romero
This could very easily be the fight of the night. Two very talented individuals who know that in all likelihood the winner of the match will face the winner of Weidman vs Rockhold. Let’s start with Jacare, who simply put is the very best jiu-jitsu guy to ever step inside the UFC octagon. The crazy part is that since he came into the promotion, his stand up game has improved by leaps in bounds. He has gone from a guy who you only worried about on the ground, to now being dangerous every second of the fight.
Yoel Romero knocks people out. It realty is that simple. In his MMA career he has won 10 of his total 11 fights, and of those 10 wins 9 came by way of knockout. He is one of the most dangerous guys on the feet not only his weight class, but in the entire world. For him to win this fight he must neutralize Jacare’s takedowns and try to hit him early and often. Ultimately Jacare’s wrestling will be entirely too much for Yoel and he stands no chance fighting off the myriad of submissions Jacare will throw at him.
Prediction: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza via 1st round armbar
Co-Main Event: Middleweight Title Fight (C) Chris Weidman vs Luke Rockhold
Rockhold and Weidman, as to co-main? Yeah this card is stacked. Let’s start with the champion Chris Weidman. Chris seemed to come out of nowhere when he knocked out the greatest of all time in Anderson Silva and then defeating Silva again once his leg broke in their second bout. Many, myself included, were skeptical of Weidman as champion at that time. Weidman though won us all over with his battle with Lyoto Machida and his TKO victory over Vitor Belfort. He has successfully defended his title 3 times now and he’s proven that he can knock people out. The big weakness in Weidman is his jiu-jitsu, something Luke Rockhold excels at.
Luke Rockhold has been overlooked since the moment he came into the UFC. People looked at his Strikeforce championship and saw it as a second rate title, but when you look at the guys he fought in Strikeforce it paints a different picture. His two biggest wins in Strikeforce were over Jacare Souza and Tim Kennedy, two of the best fighters in the division today. He did lose his UFC debut to Vitor Belfort, but we all know Vitor was hyped up on TRT. Rockhold’s latest victory was an absolute domination of Lyoto Machida, who gave Weidman all kinds of trouble. Look for Rockhold to replicate what he did to Machida. He will look to use his pace, put pressure on Weidman, and finish him on the ground.
Prediction: Luke Rockhold via 3rd round rear-naked choke
Main Event: Featherweight Title Fight (c) Jose Aldo vs (IC) Conor McGregor
Finally these two men are going to square off in the middle of the octagon and the world will get to see the fight we have all been waiting for. Jose Aldo is the champion, and to this point he is the only featherweight champion in the history of the UFC. He is undefeated for the past 10 years, beating the likes of Cub Swanson, Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes (twice), Frankie Edgar, & Ricardo Lamas. He has fought a list of who’s who in that division and all of them have failed. Aldo is a true champion and truly one of the greats in the history of this sport. There are few weaknesses in his game if any. One thing I look at are the number of 5 round wars he has had since holding that title, and how those rounds have worn on his body.
In the other corner we have the biggest thing going in the MMA world. The Notorious One Conor McGregor. Conor has captivated UFC fans since his debut win over Marcus Brimage. He doesn’t only beat his opponents but he has this ability to predict when and how he will win the fight. His precision with his punches and kicks are what really catch my attention when I watch Conor. Rarely do you ever see him over extend on a strike and miss. His last 4 fights have all ended in TKOs and none of the fights have been against sub-par competition. I think we will witness a changing of the guard in the featherweight division on December 12th and we will usher in the McGregor Era.
Prediction: Conor McGregor via 2nd round TKO