Check out our UFC 194 preview.
What a December. UFC 194 is the final show of three shows in a row for the UFC. And there will be one more on FOX next weekend.
This show is one of the deepest in the history of the UFC. We’re going to cover three of the fights and predict the main card five.
But we’re also going to throw in our predictions for TUF Finale between Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar.
In addition to the FGB crew, included in our picks are John LaRocca, president of Premier Wrestling, the hardest working woman in MMA, Heidi Fang who is now working for Fox Sports, and our jiu-jitsu expert, Alex Goff.
Here’s how we’re doing so far:
Here’s our UFC 194 preview + 1:
Frankie Edgar Vs Chad Mendes
GG: Frankie Edgar by decision
While I’d like to take Chad Mendes here, I just don’t see a way that he would be favored in this type of fight. It’s more than likely going to be a standup fight and while Mendes has power, he gets hit a lot and hard. Think back to the second fight with Jose Aldo and the recent fight with Conor McGregor. He took vicious shots that took a lot out of him. He doesn’t move his head well. And he swings for the fences, which opens him up to eat leather and knuckles. And Frankie Edgar as a technical boxer is better than both of those guys. Now, Edgar may not have the same power, but it’s going to be the number of punches that land that will doom Mendes. Mendes has to hope that he lands a big shot because he has power, but Edgar is too slick to get caught. This fight has a decision written all over it, but based on Mendes’ tendency to get tired and knocked around with big shots, I wouldn’t be surprised to see if it was stopped in either of the last two rounds.
Duan: Frankie Edgar
Alan: Chad Mendes
John: Frankie Edgar
Heidi: Frankie Edgar
Alex: Chad Mendes
Jim: Frankie Edgar
Max Holloway Vs Jeremy Stephens
Duan: Max Holloway
Alan: Max Holloway
John: Max Holloway
Heidi: Max Holloway
Alex: Max Holloway
Jim: Max Holloway
GG: Max Holloway
Demian Maia Vs Gunnar Nelson
Duan: Gunnar Nelson
Alan: Gunnar Nelson
John: Demian Maia
Heidi: Demian Maia
Alex: Demian Maia
Jim: Gunnar Nelson
GG: Demian Maia
Jacare Souza Vs Yoel Romero
Alex: Jacare Souza by 3rd round TKO
In what may be the most famous modern jiu-jitsu matchup, two of the greatest competitors in the sport matched up in the finals of the absolute division in the World Championships. Jacare Souza, who was up on points, found himself in an armbar from Roger Gracie. He knew that if he were to find a way out of the submission, Roger would only gain an advantage and not a full point. With limited time left, Roger breaks Jacare’s arm in the move. Jacare is finally able to maneuver his broken arm out of the hold and precedes to stuff his arm into his belt. He finishes the match avoiding Roger’s takedowns and beats what many consider to be the greatest modern competitor. He told MMA fighting in an interview in 2013 why he changed sports.
I left jiu-jitsu for MMA because those f—— never came to me asking if I needed anything.
He had developed quite the bondafides in jiu-jitsu including three world championships in the black belt category, including two gold medals in the open weight division. Now he finds himself across the cage from a seasoned high level wrestler in Yoel Romero. Yoel is a multiple time Pan American Game Champion, World Champion, and Olympic silver medalist. Both men have combined their incredible grappling skills with solid striking ability, which makes the two feared in their division. This is a match I almost don’t want to see. I am interested in seeing how the winner of Rockhold/Weidman would fare in the cage against either men at this stage of their career. Rockhold does hold a victory over Jacare but it was earlier in each men’s careers.
I believe this matchup with be decided standing. Yoel uses his wrestling much the way Dan Henderson does; as a check against the opponent’s striking defenses as the threat of the takedown is always a threat. While standing Yoel swings hard, he has been known to gas out due to this style. Jacare, I don’t believe is going to be overly concerned with Yoel’s takedown capability, as his jiu-jitsu is the best we’ve seen displayed in the octagon. The man who broke his arm, Roger Gracie, wasn’t as effective when he had his stint in the UFC. I believe the fans will win with this fight, this card, and this weekend, but I believe Jacare will win the match.
Duan: Jacare Souza
Alan: Jacare Souza
John: Jacare Souza
Heidi: Jacare Souza
Jim: Jacare Souza
GG: Jacare Souza
Chris Weidman Vs Luke Rockhold
Heidi: Luke Rockhold by decision
Weidman has proven time and time again that he can gut out a win, even when faced against stiff adversity. After all, he is undefeated. However, Rockhold has been a man on a mission, disposing of those in front of him one after the other. Rockhold works with wrestlers who are bigger and stronger on a daily basis. His striking is more fluid and he has angles that can deceive. When it comes to the submission game, I feel like Rockhold is a bit craftier than Weidman. It’s because of these advantages that I think Rockhold can pull out the W.
Jim: Chris Weidman by decision
Weidman versus Rockhold should be a helluva fight. As the UFC absorbed Strikeforce And WEC fighters, I was critical of guys like Brian Stann, Tim Kennedy (Kennedy), and Luke Rockhold for not being real contenders in UFC. Rockhold has proven me wrong time after time.
This fight is an excellent matchup. Both guys are of similar size, reach,and build. I would imagine this fight playing out on the feet in fairly close quarters with both guys throwing a lot of power shots. In my book, Rockhold has the more accurate striking and a speed advantage. I give Weidman the advantage in wrestling, striking power, and durability. When it comes down to picking the winner I think Weidman’s advantages, as well as the quality of opponents he has faced, give him the edge needed to win the decision.
Duan: Chris Weidman
Alan: Chris Weidman
John: Chris Weidman
Alex: Chris Weidman
GG: Chris Weidman
Jose Aldo Vs Conor McGregor
Duan: Conor McGregor by 3rd round TKO
Fourteen months on the shelf counts for something right? I don’t think it’s underrating Aldo’s abilities to wonder whether he’s still got it. It’s a valid question. After all, in his last 2-3, bouts he hasn’t looked anything like the terror he was in his WEC days. The time away is unlikely to have helped any either. Had Aldo fought this year and looked decent doing it, my perception of this one would be very different. The way it stands now, it’s a cracking fight, but I favour the fresher man. This is a sport that moves fast and has traditionally been unkind to inactivity.
Out of the top ranked contenders, this is the guy McGregor would have wanted to face for the championship. He’s the one least likely to take him down and Conor will always fancy his chances in a shootout. I would see Aldo as the bigger kicker, especially with the leg kicks, while McGregor is the better boxer and the better mover. Aldo is the harder hitter on average, but I think McGregor may have the better one punch power. They’re supremely well matched on paper.
Aldo has had stamina issues in the past when fights have gone deep. The weight has always been difficult for him. I think the layoff will only magnify that particularly with the use of IV banned now as well. If he starts to fall apart in there, McGregor will take him out.
Alan: Conor McGregor by 3rd round TKO
Watching a lot of the videos UFC have put out have been interesting. Not a ton of footage of Conor doing traditional training. A lot of Conor balancing on things and punching candle flames. Is he just taking it easy in the final weeks of camp? Is there an injury that’s being hidden? Has he got so much sway in UFC that he can make sure his “real” training isn’t on camera? Or have Conor and his camp started to out-think themselves in terms of training methods and philosophies, and he’s moved too far from the traditional and too focused on things like having a movement coach?
All of those are potential answers I feel, but the last one is the most intriguing – particularly in this fight. I have no doubt what Aldo’s training is. He’s going hell for leather with crazy Brazilians. Hard intense sessions training all the disciplines. But is he, as Conor says, running himself into the ground with that? Is the more philosophical, experimental approach that John Kavanagh seems to be installing the way of the future? I think one of the most interesting aspects of this fight is that we have two completely different approaches to preparation on display here. That could be the deciding factor. Or it could just be all down to who was the better fighter to begin with.
I see Aldo starting well but fading, and I think this may end up being a longer version of the Mendes fight, i.e. I think Aldo will get out of the blocks quickly, win the first round, and maybe the second but Conor will hang tough and eventually find his shots and end it in the 3rd.
Heidi: Jose Aldo
John: Jose Aldo
Alex: Conor McGregor
Jim: Jose Aldo
GG: Conor McGregor