The Aftermath Report: UFC 194

McGregor One-Punch KO’s Aldo

Time is a funny concept in combat sports.  In a sport measured by minutes and seconds, a legacy takes years, sometimes decades to build. It only took Conor McGregor a record-setting 13 seconds to do what the world hasn’t seen since a then 19 year old Jose Aldo stepped into a cage ten years ago, he defeated him, arguably before the match began.

All of the telltale signs of a collapse were there.  As the two met in the middle of the Octagon, Jose Aldo avoided eye contact with his nemesis.  The confident gaze of a killer waiting to be unleashed that we’re accustomed to seeing was entirely absent.  Only Aldo knows what was going through his head and we don’t have much footage to parse, but there was a certain tenseness in his movement that we don’t normally see.  He looked uncharacteristically nervous, especially compared to McGregor who wasted no time baiting the champ and executed flawlessly.

McGregor, the southpaw, opened with a stiff left and followed with his right side oblique kick, one of the most used weapons in his arsenal.  He stepped off and Aldo rushed into one of the most devastating knockouts in UFC history.  Upon initial viewing, it looked as though Jose Aldo stepped forward, landing a hook, and then fell over dead, but a different angle showed Aldo dropping his right arm and leaving himself open as he threw while McGregor planted and quickly crushed the left cross across Aldo’s jaw.  Aldo was unconscious on impact, but he still maintained enough forward momentum to clip McGregor across the chin as he fell. It was a dramatic, one punch end to an almost five year championship reign.

Aldo was stunned.  The crowd was stunned.  The Irish fans in attendance went crazy.  After the fight, McGregor gave proper respect to the former champ and Aldo asked for the immediate rematch, adding that it wasn’t really a fight.

Does he deserve it?  That’s hard to say.  It’s difficult to justify forcing Holly Holm to sit sidelined for six months while Ronda Rousey recovers while denying Aldo the same luxury.  Similarly, a recently battered Cain Velasquez is being given a rematch at sea level, specifically because he gassed so quickly at the elevated height of Mexico.  All of these victories were so one-sided that a second match seems absurd, especially in the more talent-rich featherweight division, but they’re happening anyway.  Frankie Edgar dominated interim title challenger Chad Mendes in a one round masterpiece of mixed martial arts capped by a similarly devastating knockout and has been on the cusp of a shot for most of 2015.  Edgar has been absolutely phenomenal in his last several outings and now is the time to pull the trigger on a match that has been in the making since McGregor first started pushing his way up the rankings.

Luke Rockhold Walks Through Weidman

Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold fulfilled a long journey that culminated in defeating Chris Weidman, earning both the middleweight title and the unnecessarily long moniker of “the man who beat the man who beat Anderson Silva” or just “the spider killer killer” for short.  The fight was mostly decided by answering the age old question of what happens when you bring a punch to a kick party.  Weidman had a successful first round, but Rockhold quickly turned things around.  Rockhold successfully lit Chris Weidman’s legs and body up with strong, sharp kicks throughout much of the second and third rounds, the effects of which quickly took their toll on the champ and withered his offense.

The fight could have been stopped at the end of the third round but apparently referee Herb Dean paid good money for those seats.  Rockhold became the first person to take down Weidman en route to his win.  He assumed full mount in the final minute of the third and began to rain elbow after elbow, fist upon fist on Weidman.  To his credit, Weidman was blocking well enough to avoid the brunt of the damage, but enough unanswered heavy shots hit him to merit ending the fight.  Weidman wobbled his way to his corner at the end of the round and from there it was just a matter of time.

Weidman gave it his all, but he was down and being rocked against the cage by the midpoint of the next round.  This led to the finish and Rockhold’s emergence as the first man to defeat Weidman.  In a world without immediate rematces, Yoel Romero would be in line for the next shot, or maybe even Vitor Belfort, the last person to hand Rockhold a loss.  However, Rockhold will very likely have to face Weidman again.

Yoel Romero Wins Another Controversial Decision

Yoel Romero’s middleweight confrontation was a fun three round war that is a rare clear cut case of a fight that should have been a draw.  Romero dominated Souza for the first round.  He caught Souza with a spinning backlist that toppled him and spent much of the round pounding away at his opponent.  By most judging standard it should have been a 10-8 round for Romero.  However, Romero came out in the second and chose to rest rather than close the distance and try to finish the fight.  This allowed Souza to recover enough to begin to put together some offense.  It wasn’t an eventful frame, but Souza landed more shots and pressed the fight, often finding success by attacking the body of Romero.  The third round was clearly Souza’s as he secured a takedown and spent much of the round attacking from the top.

The actual results?  One judge gave Romero a 10-8 for the first round as well as a 10-9 for the second, one gave Romero a 10-9 in the first and Souza the next two, and the final judge scored it two rounds to one for Romero.  The match wasn’t without controversy though.  During the pivotal second round, Souza was working for a takedown against the cage.  He secured it but Romero held the fence.  The resulting penalty was a stand-up but returning to a neutral state only further assisted Romero.

The winner of this match was supposed to be next in line for the middleweight belt, but this is the second bout that Romero has won under controversial circumstances.  That coupled with a seemingly suspect ability to last in the deep rounds makes him a hard sell as a viable title contender.  Who will get the next shot?  Time will tell.

Full Results

  • Main Card (PPV)
  • Conor McGregor defeated José Aldo by KO (punches) at 0:13 of round 1
  • Luke Rockhold defeated Chris Weidman by TKO (punches) at 3:12 of round 4
  • Yoel Romero defeated Ronaldo Souza by Decision (split) (29-27, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Demian Maia defeated Gunnar Nelson by Decision (unanimous) (30-26, 30-25, 30-25)
  • Max Holloway defeated Jeremy Stephens by Decision (unanimous) (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)
  • Urijah Faber defeated Frankie Saenz by Decision (unanimous) (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Tecia Torres defeated Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger by Decision (unanimous) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Warlley Alves defeated Colby Covington by Submission (guillotine choke) at 1:26 of round 1
  • Leonardo Santos defeated Kevin Lee by TKO (punches) at 3:26 of round 1
  • Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
  • Magomed Mustafaev defeated Joe Proctor by TKO (knees and punches) at 1:54 of round 1
  • Yancy Medeiros defeated John Makdessi by Decision (split) (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Court McGee defeated Márcio Alexandre Jr. by Decision (unanimous) (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

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