After 340 events held in 117 cities in 19 countries, and with some of the biggest names used such as Rampage Jackson, Ronda Rousey, Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, & Chuck Liddle that extend much further than the sport itself it’s safe to say that the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has put on some main events in its time. However nothing can prepared us for what we can expect this Saturday Night (actually Sunday morning GMT) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada as UFC 194 goes down.
In the main event we are going to see a war for the UFC Featherweight Title as Brazil’s Jose Aldo ‘Junior’ takes on Ireland’s ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor. This bout was originally expected to take place at UFC 189 in July, however, champion Aldo pulled out of the bout due to a rib injury and the event was instead headlined by an interim title bout between McGregor and Chad Mendes, which McGregor won.
Now the highly anticipated bout to unify the titles will eventually take place in what is likely to be the biggest pay-per-view event in UFC history.
There is genuine hatred between to the two fighters. There have been multiple scuffles during face to face meetings in the run up to this and the original fight, and this has been stoked to no small means by the fact that both fighters are backed by vociferous fans. For years it was always said that the Brazilian fans were the most vocal in the sport, however that was until the Irish fans arrived on the scene.
Each and every time McGregor has fought he has been backed by a huge following contingent. The previously mentioned Interim Title bought in July almost felt like it was in Ireland such was the level of backing. Infact the event had a $7,200,000 gate, which actually broke the record for a mixed martial arts event in the United States.
As regards the actual fighters themselves it really is a case of two fighters in form. Aldo has only lost once in a 26-fight career, and that was more than 10 years ago now. Since he became the champion (first the WEC and then the UFC champion as the WEC was absorbed by the UFC) he has defended the belt 11 times. He is widely regarded as a stand up fighter, but is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu. The only criticism levelled against him has been that he has been known to tire in the later rounds of world title fights (a world title fight is 25 minutes – 5 x 5 minute rounds).
A lack of cardio isn’t something that has been levelled at McGregor, as only 1 of his 20 professional fights has gone the distance. He has lost twice (both by submission), but is currently on a 14-fight win streak, and of his 18 wins aside of 1 decision win, 1 submission win, and 1 corner stoppage the other 15 fights have all ended via strikes, so it’s safe to say he is a stand up fighter. He is known to pressure opponents with forward movement and carefully timed, powerful striking.
The UFC will be hoping to cash in on the massive publicity that was generated by the stunning upset at UFC 193 where Holly Holm shocked the world by defeating the previously undefeated and pin-up girl of the UFC Ronda Rousey.
The event will be shown live on BT Sport with the 5 fight main card starting at 3am, which also sees a battle for the UFC Middleweight Title as undefeated Chris Weidman puts his belt on the line against number one contender Luke Rockhold.
For further information about the event please head on over to the official UFC website here.