Hard as it may be to comprehend, today is Dec. 12 and UFC 194 is finally upon us.
The biggest event of the year, and quite possibly the biggest event of all time when all is said and done, UFC 194 is headlined by the most talked about featherweight title matchup in the sport’s history. Longtime 145-pound champion puts it all on the line as he faces interim titleholder Conor McGregor.
Not to be outdone in the co-main event, UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman faces former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold in what could be the champion’s toughest test to date.
Results for the card will be updated routinely, with live round-by-round recaps available once the main card begins at 10 p.m. ET.
Early Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET)
- Court McGree def. Marcio Alexandre via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)
- Yancy Medeiros def. John Makdessi via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
- Magomed Mustafaev def. Joe Proctor via TKO (Round 1, 1:54)
Preliminary Card (FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET)
- Leonardo Santos def. Kevin Lee via TKO (Round 1, 3:26)
- Warlley Alves def. Colby Covington via submission (Round 1, 1:26)
- Tecia Torres def. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
- Urijah Faber def. Frankie Saenz via unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27)
Main Card (Pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET)
Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens
Round 1: The opening minute is spent in a feeling out process for both men. Stephens throws a few leg kicks while switching stances on Holloway. Holloway comes in with a speedy combo to the head and body. Stephens catches a kick and presses Holloway up against the fence for a bit, but doesn’t do much damage. Holloway defends well and escapes to the center of the cage. Stephens grabs hold again toward the end of the round and presses up against the cage once more.
Round 2: A close bout through the first six minutes of the contest, neither man was doing much damage. They both stood just outside the pocket, throwing relatively safe strikes. Holloway unleashes a spinning back kick to the body, only for Stephens to catch it and press him up against the cage again. Holloway defended well with solid wrist control and escaped from the clinch. Holloway presses forward and the two trade punches in a brief but active exchange, though neither man seemed hurt. Another slow, close round.
Round 3: Both corners acknowledged what a close contest this could be on the judge’s scorecards, egging their fighters to find the stoppage in Round 3. Holloway gets a takedown, ties up one of Stephens’ arms and lands several heavy left hands — easily the most damage done by either fighter in this contest. Stephens tries to scramble out, but allows Holloway to grab hold of his back with both hooks in. Stephens gets back to his feet and presses Holloway on the cage for a bit before looking to strike. The last 10 seconds were filled with heavy strikes, as Stephens looked to finish.
Result: Holloway def. Stephens via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
Demian Maia vs. Gunnar Nelson
Round 1: Maia shoots in straight away, but Nelson ends up on top. Maia scrambles back to his feet immediately after. Maia continues shooting for another takedown, but once again, Nelson ends up on top. He has more control this time, preventing Maia from scrambling into a more dominant position. Maia scrambles onto Nelson’s back before transitioning into full mount. Maia starts to let his hands go, landing some stiff punches. Nelson adjusts, but Maia wraps onto Nelson’s back again. Maia nearly secures an armbar toward the end of the round, but Nelson rolls out. A beautiful display of high-level grappling.
Round 2: Nelson’s corner asked him to keep the fight standing and strike with Maia in this round, but Maia shoots for a single-leg to open the round. They scramble a bit, but Maia eventually ends up on Nelson’s back again. Nelson is on his feet, but Maia’s locked in like a backpack here. Maia brings it back to the canvas, throwing damaging shots onto Nelson. Nelson somehow transitions into the closed guard, but Maia rolls back on top. With about 30 seconds left, Maia takes the full mount and lets more elbows drop. This could be a 10-8 round.
Round 3: Nelson tries securing a guillotine but doesn’t get it. Maia ends up on top in a quick scramble, and begins landing those same elbows he was landing in Round 2. Broadcast shows the strike differential (141-5), reaffirming what dominance Maia showcased through the first 13 minutes of the bout. An absolutely dominant performance by one of — if not the — best BJJ practitioner to step into the UFC.
Result: Maia def. Nelson via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25 x 2)
Jacare Souza vs. Yoel Romero
Round 1: Quite a bit of patience from both men to start the contest. Jacare moves forward, looking to close off the cage on the agile wrestler. Romero unleashes a quick spinning back fist that drops Souza, and questionably decided to follow him to the canvas. He continues throwing punches while Souza tries finding a submission. An impressive round for the Olympic wrestler.
Round 2: Jacare was dazed heading to his stool in between rounds. Jacare continues looking patient on his feet, while Romero continues to move freely. Souza attempts a takedown, but Romero just shrugs him off, showcasing a potential differential in strength. Romero grabs onto the fence while Souza nearly secures a takedown. The illegal move allowed Romero to end up on top, but referee Marc Goddard stood them back up and offered Romero a stern warning. Romero started to slow down a bit, moving a lot slower than he was earlier in the contest.
Round 3: Jacare seemed to be the fresher fighter going into the third round, in what could be a close contest on the scorecards. The first two minutes of the round were very inactive, with neither fighter throwing much. Romero eats a left hand and shoots for a takedown, but falls short. Jacare tags Romero a few times while Romero’s up against the cage. Souza follows up with a takedown with about two minutes left. Souza lands hard shots from half guard. Romero looks gassed at this point, not offering much outside of defensive grappling.
Result: Romero def. Souza via split decision (29-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold
Round 1: Weidman shoots in for a takedown 30 seconds in, manages to latch onto Rockhold’s back. They scramble for a bit, with no heavy shots being thrown. Weidman is controlling much of the grappling exchanges, showcasing a sizable strength advantage early. Weidman shoots for another double-leg and gets it easily, but Rockhold counters with a guillotine attempt. With his legs out of position, Rockhold could not finish the choke. Herb Dean stands them up and Rockhold unleashes some heavy body kicks. Weidman follows up with another takedown attempt, but is nearly caught in a guillotine.
Round 2: Rockhold drops Weidman early with a hook, but Weidman gets back up. Rockhold is doing big damage with some heavy body kicks in Round 2, but Weidman doesn’t back down. Rockhold continues with the body kicks, mixing in some head kicks that narrowly miss their target. Weidman is standing there while his corner screams for a combination that doesn’t come. Both guys are breathing relatively heavy with a minute to go in Round 2. Weidman lands a heavy body kick to end the round, but Rockhold just smiles.
Round 3: Both Weidman and Rockhold are conserving energy here. Weidman hands a flush right hand and follows it up with a takedown. The takedown came a lot easier for Weidman here, highlighting potential fatigue from the challenger. Rockhold’s punches are coming a lot slower with about 1:30 left in the round. Weidman goes for a wheel kick and Rockhold follows up with a takedown. he takes the back before taking the mount. Rockhold lands an insane amount of punches, cuts Weidman open. Herb Dean had enough reason to stop the fight but allows Weidman to be saved by the bell.
Round 4: Weidman was incredibly wobbly on his way back to his corner, but the doctor’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Rockhold lands a body kick before shooting for a takedown to open Round 4. He nearly gets it but Weidman holds onto the cage; Herb Dean doesn’t see it. Rockhold gets the takedown and starts landing some soft punches. Rockhold starts opening up and Herb Dean waves it off. A new champion, ladies and gents.
Result: Rockhold def. Weidman via TKO (Round 4, 3:12)
Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor
Round 1: McGregor gets the sub-15 second KO with the second straight left hand of the night. Wow.
Result: McGregor def. Aldo via KO (Round 1, 0:13)