Hey fight fans! It’s time for the big year-end event, UFC 194, featuring two title fights! Things start at 7PM ET on Fight Pass with the early prelims. Let’s dive right into the predictions.
Important Standings of Note:
Jessica: 529-366-6 (59 percent)
Burnsy: 525-336-6 (61 percent)
Vince: 234-155-2 (60 percent)
Ryan: 10-5-1 (66 percent)
Danny: 161-77-1 (67 percent)
Spilled: 86-68-2 (56 percent)
Sydnie: 16-12 (57 percent)
Chris: 46-18-2 (71 percent)
NY Ric: 36-26-1 (57 percent)
Ghost: 6-7 (46 percent)
Seth: 32-15 (68 percent)
Biss: 41-39-1 (51 percent)
Jared: 107-56-1 (66 percent)
Melanie: 44-23 (66 percent)
Fake Mike Goldberg: 21-16 (57 percent)
Welterweight – Court “The Crusher” McGee vs Marcio “Lyoto” Alexandre
Jessica: Holy cow, has it really been two years since a Court McGee fight? That’s a crazy long layoff. Alexandre has lost his last two, but I at least forgive him of the Means fight, since the Dirty Bird is a tough out. I’ll take Fake Lyoto to win a decision.
Vince: Court McGee hasn’t fought in two years. I’m still taking him to win, via His Opponent Not Having a Wikipedia Page.
Burnsy: Monday marks the two-year anniversary of the last time Court “Tits” McGee fought, and if you don’t recall, he was an up-and-down guy. Good run of wins to start his UFC career, a couple losses, a couple wins, and then a loss. Alexandre, on the other hand, is 0-2 since joining the big league. I’m going to call this one a nice comeback win for Tits.
Jared: With guys like Court McGee, I’m always waiting for that fight where they “age 10 years,” as some of us in the biz put it. Having spent the past two years on the shelf battling injury, this could very well be the fight where McGee does, but barring that, I like him to outwork Alexandre 10 times out of 10.
Lightweight – John “The Bull” Makdessi vs Yancy “The Kid” Medeiros
Jessica: Both dudes are decent strikers, but Medieros has crazy reach on Makdessi. I figure he’s good enough to keep John at range and land some solid punches. Medeiros wins with a third round TKO.
Burnsy: This is a prelim fight? Thanks, UFC! This has all the makings of a fun fight, but I’d rather take Makdessi coming off a second round loss to Cowboy Cerrone than The Kid coming off a first round loss to Dustin Poirier. You know, transitive laws and such.
Vince: I don’t know how many fights of Medeiros’ I need to see in order to remember one of them, but it hasn’t happened yet. And Makdessi is a lazy-eyed beast (he does have a lazy eye, no?). I hope he doesn’t read this, the man would punt my head into the sun. I shall take Makdessi.
Jared: Oh Yancy, inconsistency be thy name (other than Yancy, of course). One minute, you’re bulldog chokin’ dudes like this is 1997 or something, and the next, you’re testing positive for the greenery, missing weight, and popping your damn thumb out of place. I’d like to pick you here, I really would…
Makdessi’s got your number though.
Lightweight – Joe Proctor vs Magomed Mustafaev
Jessica: Magomed beat up Khabib’s brother, Abubakar, so of course I’m picking him to win. Mustafaev to fustigate Proctor, who’ll need a doctor. Magomed wins by second round KO.
Burnsy: PROCTORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!! He’s had a nice run in the UFC thus far, so I’ll stick with my favorite Police Academy reference.
Vince: I ain’t betting against no Dagestani, are you crazy? They grow up punching Russian tanks out there.
Jared: If you’ll humor me, I’d like to direct everyone’s attention to a key fact on Mustafaev’s Wikipedia page.
I rest my case.
Lightweight – Leonardo Santos vs Kevin “Motown Phenom” Lee
Jessica: I don’t think Santos has good enough BJJ to be much of a threat to Lee’s wrasslin. Lee should grind out a decision here.
Vince: Ain’t nobody beatin’ the Motown Phenom. Period.
Burnsy: Damn, another potentially great fight. I’ll take Lee because he’s just a generally better fighter, but also because his nickname game is streets ahead.
Welterweight – Warlley Alves vs Colby “Chaos” Covington
Jessica: Alves stole a win from Alan Jouban, while Covington has victories over Mike Pyle, which I do not remember, and someone named Annoying Wang, which can’t be real. This is a tough call for me, mostly because I don’t remember anything about either of these dudes. I’ll go Covington, because I think “Warlley Alves” is Portuguese for “War Eagle” and jeeze, Auburn fans are insufferable. Colby cheeses his way to a decision.
Vince: Battle of undefeated fighters! “Chaos Covington” is an awesome name, and so are his five submission wins. I don’t remember any of his fights, but I know Warlley Alves throws bombs like… like… like a guy who doesn’t want to be around the bombs and so he keeps throwing them. Far. Alves by bomb throwing.
Burnsy: A THIRD POTENTIALLY AWESOME FIGHT! Here’s the thing: Colby Covington sounds like a finalist on American Idol, while Warlley sounds like a dog shaking it’s head after jumping in a pool. WARLLEY!
Jared: Both guys have wins over legit competition (Alan Jouban and Mike Pyle, respectively) and this fight’s a bit of a coin toss, so I’ll take Alves by early, angry gorilla mode stoppage for the slight upset.
Strawweight – Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres vs Jocelyn “Lights Out” Jones-Lybarger
Jessica: Oh dip, this should be neat! When she isn’t shooting takedowns and doing nothing with them, Tecia is a fun, high energy striker. I like Jocelyn, but I think this is a little too short notice. She’s been doing well recently, even beating Zoila Frausto-Gurgel (Gosh, I remember when I thought she was one of the best female fighters). That being said, I’m giving this to Torres by decision.
Vince: My favorite part of Tecia Torres’s fights are the pre-fight interviews, on account of she’s quite possibly the world’s most boring athlete. Which, if you’ve talked to any professional athletes, is kind of like being the world’s shortest little person. Anyway, I’ve seen both of these fighters multiple times, and don’t remember a single thing about either of their fights. Fun fact: between the two of them, they have one finish. I think the smart money is on Lybarger to get wrestlef*cked to a decision loss, which is a distinct possibility, but I’m going to choose the upset and say JJL uses her reach to out strike Torres, just to make it interesting. Because Torres is indeed very tiny.
Burnsy: Gonna sound my undefeated fighter alarm here and give the W to the Tiny Tornado.
Jared: The only thing I am more confident in than a “Tiny Tornado” win here is the fact that this fight will go to the distance. In 12 fights, these two have one finish between them. One. Women be decisioning, amiright fellas?
Bantamweight – Urijah “The California Kid” Faber vs Frankie Saenz
Faber gets his win over a dude named Frankie, probably by submission in the second.
Vince: I used to hate Urijah, and cheered so hard when Mike Brown knocked him out in the middle of a spinning back fist. That was beautiful. But at some point, he became an underdog and his relentless positive attitude won me over (even if I wish he was a little quicker with his tongue so he could’ve put Conor in his place). Meanwhile, Frankie Saenz is something of an unknown quantity – he’s 11-2, but only two of his prior opponents have had wikipedia pages. Meanwhile, Urijah has only lost to the best of the best – Edgar, Barao, Cruz, Aldo… Gotta take the fat retired surfer for this one.
Spilled: Faber via looking like a retired surfer.
Burnsy: Faber will get the win here and then a title shot, probably, so I’ll go ahead and pick him to lose that.
Jared: Seeing Faber reduced to fighting these no-namers on the ever-coveted “featured prelim” spots makes me sad. Like really, really sad. That said, his current 6-to-1 odds over Saenzs makes me think that we’re about to see someone get guillotined to damn near death. Faber, gets the win, then gets his shot at that snake in the grass Dillashaw.
Featherweight – Max “Blessed” Holloway vs Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens
Jessica: Holloway has been on a friggin tear since that McGregor loss, and he’s now doubled his win total. Stephens is always dangerous, but I’m a fan of Max’s body shots. I see him ripping up Jeremy’s guts with those and then landing the finishing shots to his chin. Holloway wins by second round TKO.
Vince: Jeremy Stephens can beat anyone at any time, as evidenced by his knockout win over the current lightweight champ. Stephens is fresh off a victory of a guy who beat Holloway (Dennis Bermudez), but that was coming off consecutive losses to two guys Holloway just beat (Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira). This is a good match up, is what I’m saying. I’m with Jessica here – Stephens always has a chance, but Holloway is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the entire sport and he’s only 24. Plus he’s Hawaiian and those people are ridiculously tough.
Spilled: Holloway via Hawaiian Tiki Power and 3rd rd choke.
Burnsy: I cannot and will not pick against the Blessed One at this point in his career. The guy is a man possessed and I want him to get a title shot very soon.
Jared: Jeremy Stephens has always struck me as a slightly (and I mean slightly) more composed Melvin Guillard. When he’s on, he’s a terror to anyone he faces, but there have been a few instances where he just hasn’t shown up (most recently, the Oliveira fight). His come-from-behind KO of Denis Bermudez was a beautiful piece of work, no doubt, but I see him being about 5 seconds behind Holloway here.
Welterweight – Demian Maia vs Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson
Jessica: And so begins the GRAPPLE FIGHT portion of the main card. Not to get all MMAth, but Maia nearly pulled off Rick Story’s head, while that’s the only man to beat Nelson so far. Nelson will have the edge in terms of striking, but come on, nobody wants to see these two kickbox. This better be 15 minutes of man-grabs, dangit! Maia is super good on the ground, but he’s older than Nelson and has a tendency to gas out. I’ll say Nelson keeps up his stoic, Icelandic demeanor and beats Maia by decision.
Vince: Nothing would please me more than to see Maia go to the center of the cage and outstrike Nelson for three rounds while shouting “Where is your jiu-jitsu now, playboy?” Nah, I kid, I want to see some grappling. And NO ONE SUBS PROFESSOR MAIA, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Who knows with this one, I’m taking Maia as a total heart pick because I love him forever for being the only guy to beat Neil Magny in two years.
Spilled: Nelson via Viking power.
Burnsy: My main man Gunni proved in July that he learned from his dumb, lackluster split decision loss to Rick Story that he knows what he has to do. That’s finish and finish early, dammit. Maia is an awesome test for this young badass who shares a name with a living rock icon, and I think Gunni pulls this one out. We’re on the cusp of the Gunni Era.
Jared: As a jiu jitsu nerd, I really wish these guys would have a gentleman’s agreement to only do battle on the canvas. Nelson’s striking has been looking pretty on point as of late, but his loss to Rick Story makes me think that Maia should be able to get him to the mat and control him from there. NO ONE can compete with Maia on the ground, not even Nelson.
Middleweight – Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero
Jessica: He doesn’t have great striking, but for a guy from a pure BJJ background, with as good as his grappling is, Jacare’s hands have really improved a lot. Romero just hits like a truck and could probably throw a man into the sun. I’m going to say that Souza finds Romero’s chin, gets him wobbly, and sinks in a choke in the first round.
Spilled: Jacare via gator chomp.
Burnsy: Souza is apparently furious that he isn’t fighting for a title yet, so I’ll take him to make quick work of Romero and then stand outside the octagon for the first co-main event of the evening.
Vince: How do you pick a fight like this? Jacare is probably top 10 in the world jiu-jitsu guy (even more applicable to MMA in his case, since he does his best work from the top), and hits like a truck. Meanwhile, Romero is an Olympic caliber wrestler who also hits like a truck, and can do this to people:
Romero can’t play around on top of Souza if he doesn’t want to get subbed, and Souza can’t play around under Romero if he doesn’t want to get knocked out like Machida. Maybe Souza has better stand-up? No idea. Jacare by total coin flip.
Jared: I really don’t know about this fight, you guys. Both guys are just so dangerous in so many areas, so I think the one thing this comes down to is size. Souza has been dominant lately, but he’s also never faced a guy the size of Romero. I see the Cuban muscling Souza to the mat and maybe scoring a TKO finish from there.
Middleweight Title – Chris “The All-American” Weidman vs Luke Rockhold
Jessica: Oh boy! This is going to be another really cool fight. I think it will be close, with Weidman having an advantage in the clinch, wrestling (duh) and general punching power. Rockhold might not have a better grappling game, but his submissions are good and also flashy, plus I think he does well at distance. Ultimately, this comes down to Weidman’s secret weapon – TEAM INFINITE BREADSTICKS AND THE LINGUINE DON. Serra and Longo are going to give Chris the best gameplan, and he’s really good at following them. Weidman gets a fourth round TKO.
Spilled: Weidman via taking Anderson’s soul.
Burnsy: It’s hard to compare the Top 3 of each UFC division, but Weidman’s job of defending his Middleweight title right now is super tough. If it’s not Rockhold on Saturday, it’s Souza or Romero at the next PPV, and it’s either Rockhold or one of the others at the next one. And yet Weidman still isn’t front and center as a legitimate UFC Champion, despite defeating Anderson Silva twice. I’m picking him to win this one and then I’m hoping that he steps forward and calls the UFC out for promoting a circus clown like Conor McGregor over him. Show a little personality, All-American. Get that lime light.
Vince: Sheesh, when did this middleweight division get so good? Rockhold’s length and wicked body kick presents a challenge for Weidman, who I’ll be rooting against anyway on account of him being a DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER. Gross. That’s enough for me to root for Luke, even though he kind of seems like a cocky prick these days. That being said, I just can’t pick against Weidman until someone finds a weakness in his game. Weidman.
Jared: As much as I hate to bet against Weidman — who aside from being a fantastic wrestler and one of the most mentally tough guys to ever enter the sport, also seems like a genuinely nice person — I gotta give Rockhold the slight edge here. He’s just so technically sound on the feet and packs a slick Jiu Jitsu game to boot, and I see him scrapping out a close but unanimous decision…
…you know what, no. I already joined the team. There’s no backing out now. Weidman via UD. I LOVE YOU.
Featherweight Title – Jose “Scarface” Aldo vs “The Notorious” Conor McGregor
Jessica: First, it is INSANE that Aldo is the underdog going into this fight. I never bet on MMA, but come on! As for what’s gonna happen, I expect leg kicks, leg kicks, and guess what, spoiler alert, more leg kicks. Conor keeps that lead leg too far out, and he didn’t have an answer for Dennis Siver’s kicks, which isn’t a good sign going into a fight against Aldo. Jose is going to hobble McGregor and get a second round leg kick TKO.
Spilled: Connie Mac via footwork, angles, kicks and finding the perfect counter punch to stun and finish Aldo in the 3rd round.
Burnsy: Look, I love the circus clown routine as much as the next guy. I love McGregor’s trash talk and the way he’s evolving into the UFC’s Kanye West. I love how he thinks he’s reinventing the way fighters train and condition, and I love that he flaunts his wealth and excess on Instagram, even though I’m not sure how he’s making so much money in a promotion that isn’t ripe with millionaires. But it’s Jose-fucking-Aldo, man. And it’s a pissed off Aldo. Aldo proves he’s the real champ and Conor goes on an excuse-making campaign while demanding an immediate rematch.
Vince: There are two elements to this, who am I rooting for, and who do I think will win. To answer part one: I love what Conor brings to the sport, and I love his Irish townie Muhammad Ali routine, but at the same time, I’m still a total sucker for a loudmouth-gets-put-in-his-place narrative. No matter how manufactured that narrative, and no matter how calculated and well executed that loudmouth routine may be, I still can’t resist. Thus, I’ll be rooting for Jose. Not to mention – how do we know Jose isn’t just a good a talker, he just doesn’t speak English? Don’t get me wrong, there’s also a lot to love about the Conor story, coming out of Ireland where basically no MMA fighters had before and becoming its biggest or second biggest star in just a few years. But is that a better story than Jose, a kid from the favelas of Rio who was supposed to be a sacrificial lamb in his first fight, and instead has gone undefeated for 10 f*cking years? How could you not root for Jose? (Well, there was that story about him getting his drug tester arrested, but I digress…)
As for WHO WILL WIN. Man, this is an absolute pick ’em. On the one hand… Aldo hasn’t lost in 10 f*cking years! On the other, he hasn’t fought in more than a year. It also took him five rounds to beat Chad Mendes, whereas it only took Conor two. And you could argue Mendes looked better in the first against Jose than against Conor (poor Chad). There’s also the matter of Aldo’s best weapon, the leg kick, setting him up for Southpaw Conor’s best weapon, the straight left. Could that neutralize it some? Maybe. The X-factor in both guys’ successes is something that rarely gets talked about, which is that they both have insane chins. Both of them have shrugged off shots from Mendes that would’ve knocked out anyone else in the division. Of course, this is just getting me further from my pick. And then there’s the mental game. Jose isn’t a big sh*t talker, whereas Conor thrives on it. Does that mean Jose comes in emotional and it screws him up? Surely that’s what Conor’s banking on. In the end I’ll take Jose, just because I want him to win.
Jared: As much as I appreciate Conor McGregor as both a fighter and a personality, and as much as his performance over Mendes makes me think he could definitely win this with his constant pressure and length, there’s simply no way in Hell I’m betting against Aldo here. He’s too technically sound, too experienced, and too capable of butchering McGregor’s lead leg with his leg kicks from Hell. God, I’m so excited for this f*cking card.
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Faber, Aldo
Burnsy: Weidman, Souza
Fight of the Night
Jessica: Weidman vs Rockhold
Burnsy: Souza vs Romero