UFC 194: Aldo vs McGregor Preview and Picks
It took until December but the UFC has put together a stellar card for this weekend’s event in Las Vegas. Two championships belts will be on the line – the long-awaited Featherweight Title fight between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor will finally go down while Luke Rockhold will try to become the newest Middleweight Champ in his fight with Chris Weidman.
The rest of the card promises fireworks as well – let’s take a look at all of the fights on this terrific card and what should play out on a great night of fights on the Vegas strip.
UFC 194: “Aldo vs. McGregor”
Date: Sat., Dec. 12, 2015, on pay-per-view (PPV)
Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
Broadcast: Pay-per-view, Fox Sports 1, UFC Fight Pass
Updated Sportsbook Bonuses For Today
Main Card (on Pay-Per-View 10 p.m. ET):
Jose Aldo (25-1): +110 vs. Conor McGregor (18-2): -130
In one of the most anticipated fights in quite some time Featherweight Champ Jose Aldo will try to shut the mouth of Conor McGregor and retain his Title. McGregor offers up a unique challenge however – he mouth has become legendary and his left hand has been a terrific compliment to that mouth!
McGregor is somehow the favorite in this fight despite getting a little exposed in his last fight against Chad Mendes. Also curious is the fact that Aldo is arguably the most dominant champ in the history of the UFC. Aldo has the insane leg kicks, the nearly unmatched striking game and an incredible ability to keep out of his opponent’s danger zones.
Simply put, Aldo’s ability to avoid getting hit will likely be the difference in this one. If McGregor can’t hit Aldo, he’s in real trouble. It’s true that McGregor was impressive versus Dennis Siver and Chad Mendes but Aldo is on a completely different level than those guys. Gotta love the Champ in this one as he teaches his opponent a huge lesson – AS UNDERDOG!
MMA Betting Pick: Jose Aldo +110
Chris Weidman (13-0): -153 vs. Luke Rockhold (14-2): +133
Chris Weidman looks to continue quite a roll on Saturday when he defends his Middleweight strap against Luke Rockhold. Weidman has already beaten Anderson Silva twice, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort – impressive!
Rockhold is the former Strikeforce Middleweight champion who has also beaten Lyoto Machida and Michael Bisping along the way.
Weidman is perhaps the most dangerous fighter in the UFC right now – as good a fighter on his feet as he is on the ground – he’s an All American wrestler with a black belt in jiu-jitsu and he is as scary a striker as there is in the division.
He can and will take you down whenever he wants and beat up on you while you are there.
Rockhold has made a name form himself in MMA as being a quality finisher. His hands are good, his kicks are lethal and his submissions are also very good. He, like Weidman has very few holes in his game.
This is a tougher fight to call than you’d think but the obvious choice here is the correct one. Weidman’s wrestling alone should allow him to dictate where this fight goes. Weidman’s hands are better, his takedown defense is a notch above and his takedowns are nearly legendary.
Expect the champ to get this fight to the mat and to do what he does best once there.
MMA Betting Pick: Chris Weidman -153
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (22-3-0): -149 vs. Yoel Romero (10-1-0): +129
Two Middleweights that could be in line for the next Title shot meet for that honor Saturday when Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza meets Yoel Romero. Both men look ready for their shot already.
There are some that have argued that it should be Souza that should be taking on Weidman this weekend, not Rockhold.
Romero is a former Olympic silver metal winning wrestler – as powerful and as strong a competitor as there is in the Middleweight Division. That said he should have a difficult time against Souza who has some of the best jiu-jitsu in the Division, has some improved wrestling and has developed quite a dangerous stand-up game.
Souza has become one of the most well rounded fighters in the game – his athleticism figures to be too much for Romero in this one. In what should be perhaps the best fight on the card I like Souza to take the next step and to defeat the uber-tough Romero at his own game.
MMA Betting Pick: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza -149
Demian Maia (21-6-0): -145 vs. Gunnar Nelson (14-1-1): +125
If you are a fan of striking, this fight may not be for you – submission specialists Damian Maia and Gunnar Nelson do battle in a match of two of the best submission fighters in the UFC.
There is a slight chance that this becomes a striking battle but I don’t see it – this fight will be contested on the ground where both men are moist comfortable.
On experience alone I like Maia to emerge in this one. Nelson has been impressive but has yet to face anyone the calibre of Maia.
Maia’s southpaw stance is confounding, his submission defense is unlike anything Nelson has ever seen and Maia’s overwhelming experience on the main card cannot be understated here.
It may be a bit of a snoozer which plays right into the hands of the veteran here. Take Maia to win by decision.
MMA Betting Pick: Demian Maia -145
Max Holloway (14-3): -525 vs. Jeremy Stephens (24-11): +410
Two Featherweights that will have a keen interest in what is going on between Aldo and McGregor will battle it out for the honor of being the next man up Saturday when Max Holloway and Jeremy Stevens do battle. Stevens is the veteran and Holloway is the exciting up-and-comer.
Holloway’s last loss came in 2013 to Conor McGregor – a unanimous decision and since then Max has reeled off seven straight wins. Holloway’s terrific all around game should match up well against Stevens’ straight-forward striker’s approach. Stevens has the striking edge in this one – he definitely has the power advantage but that’s about it!
Holloway has already beaten a top notch striker recently – Cub Swanson (one of the better strikers in the Featherweight Division) was a victim of Holloway’s terrific set of skills. Although Stephens’ power gives him a chance Holloway’s smarts, his skills and his desire will likely be a bit too much in this one.
MMA Betting Pick: Max Holloway -525
Prelims (on FOX Sports 1)
Urijah Faber (32-8): -600 vs. Frankie Saenz (11-2): +450
MMA Betting Pick: Urijah Faber -600
Tecia Torres (6-0): -270 vs. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (6-1): +230
MMA Betting Pick: Tecia Torres -270
Warlley Alves (9-0): -105 vs. Colby Covington (8-0): -115
MMA Betting Pick: Warlley Alves -105
Leonardo Santos (13-4-1): +425 vs. Kevin Lee (11-1): -540
MMA Betting Pick: Kevin Lee -540
Prelims (on UFC Fight Pass)
Joe Proctor (11-3): +260 vs. Magomed Mustafaev (12-1): -310
MMA Betting Pick: Joe Proctor +260
John Makdessi (13-4): -170 vs. Yancy Medeiros (11-3, 1 NC): +145
MMA Betting Pick: John Makdessi -170
Court McGee (16-4): -175 vs. Marcio Alexandre Jr. (12-2): +150
MMA Betting Pick: Marcio Alexandre Jr. +150