UFC 194 results, analysis, stats, reaction

Luke Rockhold, left, beat Chris Weidman for the middleweight championship at UFC 194. (John Locher/AP)

Conor McGregor knocked out Jose Aldo with one punch to become the unified, undisputed UFC featherweight champion in the main event of UFC 194.

Aldo rushed in and McGregor caught him with a counter-left hook that shut out the lights. The fight lasted all of 13 seconds.

It was the shortest title fight in UFC history. The previous record was Ronda Rousey’s 14-second win over Cat Zingano at UFC 184.

“Nobody can take that left hand shot,” McGregor said after the fight. “He’s powerful and he’s fast, but precision beats power and timing beats speed and that’s what you saw there.”

It was a wild finish to a solid card. Here’s what else happened.

We have a new middleweight champion

Luke Rockhold is the new UFC middleweight champion. He has defeated Chris Weidman by fourth-round TKO.

Weidman looked to impose his will early as he pressed forward with a smothering attack. Rockhold had no room to attack as Weidman gave him no room to work. Midway through the first, Rockhold locked up a guillotine when Weidman went for a takedown but he was unable to come close to tapping Weidman.

Early in the second, Rockhold landed a counter right hand that seemed to stun Weidman. He left began peppering Weidman with vicious left kicks to the body and head. In the third, Weidman began to return the favour and fire kicks to the body of his own. Weidman had all the momentum when he threw a sloppy spin kick that missed and Rockhold took him to the ground. Rockhold passed into mount and split Weidman open with dozens of punches and elbows.

Weidman never fully recovered in between rounds, Rockhold regained top position in the fourth and fired away until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.

Rockhold is the latest American Kickboxing Academy fighter to win a UFC title. He joins teammates current light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former champ Cain Velasquez. The three embraced in the cage after his win.

Romero edges Jacare in battle of beasts

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yoel Romero are two of the most physically imposing fighters we’ve ever seen in the UFC middleweight division and at UFC 194 it was Romero who edged out a split decision victory when they met in the Octagon.

The two spent the majority of the opening round feeling one another out before Romero dropped Jacare with a spinning backfist. While most fighters do anything to avoid Jacare’s guard, Romero stayed in the danger zone and landed some solid ground-and-pound shots and Jacare was wobbly as he made his way back to his corner.

Romero is an athletic freak — the 38-year-old won an Olympic silver medal in freestyle wrestling at the Sydney 2000 Games — yet since he carries so much muscle he tends to fatigue late in fights. So, the second round was more even than the first as the two went back and forth on the feet. In the final round, Jacare landed a series of hard punches and took the fight to the ground. The fight went to the scorecards and Romero had his hand raised.

When asked by UFC commentator Joe Rogan if he thought a title shot is in the near future, Romero replied, “I’m ready.”

Maia puts on grappling clinic

If you’re a fan of grappling, you probably need a cigarette after watching Demian Maia manhandle Gunnar Nelson.

Maia, a multiple-time world Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion, was able to continuously get the upper hand and land in advantageous positions following the high-level exchanges on the mat. Although he could never sink in a submission, the veteran outstruck Nelson a whopping 218 to six. Maia has now won four straight since a competitive decision loss to Rory MacDonald last year.

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Holloway continues his hot streak

Featherweight contenders Max Holloway and Jeremy Stephens kicked off the main card and it was the youngster Holloway who emerged victorious. Stephens, who holds a knockout win over current lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, frequently switched stances in the first two rounds and whenever he stood southpaw Holloway would counter with aggression. Holloway was a half step ahead of Stephens for the full 15 minutes as he picked up the unanimous decision and continued his impressive winning streak. At age 24, Holloway holds the UFC record for most wins in UFC featherweight history with 11.

Faber, Saenz put on a show

Urijah Faber is perhaps the most talented mixed martial artist to never win a UFC title and his skills shone through in a brilliant display against Frankie Saenz in the featured preliminary bout. The bantamweight contenders went back and forth at a breakneck pace and early in the second round Faber rocked Saenz with a series of knees, elbows and punches. Saenz somehow recovered and the fight eventually went to the judges’ scorecards with Faber coming out on top.

Champion T.J. Dillashaw looks to defend his 135-pound title against former longtime champ Dominick Cruz next month, and many expect Faber could fight the winner.

The Tiny Tornado breezes through opponent

In the lone women’s fight at UFC 194, strawweights Tecia Torres and Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger put on a fan-friendly affair with Torres walking away with a unanimous decision win. Torres is known as “The Tiny Tornado” and it proved to be a fitting nickname as she displayed speed and aggression. Unbeaten as a pro, Torres is currently ranked as the No. 5 contender at 115 pounds and this impressive victory moves her one step closer to a title shot.

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Don’t give Warlley Alves your neck

Fans were expecting a three-round war between welterweight prospects Alves and Colby Covington but that didn’t happen. Alves made quick work of Covington, locking in a guillotine choke less than 90 seconds into the first round. At age 24, the 10-0 Brazilian is one of the most promising fighters in the 170-pound division.

Santos earns huge upset win then disappears

Leonardo Santos, a training partner and close friend of Jose Aldo, surprised many with his win over Kevin Lee. He was the clear underdog, but more surprising was the fact he won via strikes. Santos, a third-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, is known for his submissions yet he flattened Lee with a right hand and followed up with more strikes until the referee called a stop to the action.

It was just his second career win by knockout or TKO with the last one coming in 2008. The winner of TUF Brazil 2 proceeded to hop out of the cage and run into the locker room afterwards. He eventually returned to the Octagon to have his hand raised.

The loss was a significant blow to the momentum Lee had gained in the past year-and-a-half.

Russians don’t mess around

You can add lightweight Magomed Mustafaev’s name to the list of rising Russian contenders. Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rustam Khabilov and Rashid Magomedov have already established themselves as rising contenders in the 155-pound division and Mustafaev is showing hhe deserves to mentioned alongside his countrymen. Mustafaev made quick work of Joe Proctor at UFC 194 to improve to 13-1 as a pro (2-0 in the UFC).

Canadian Makdessi drops controversial split decision

It took a while for Montreal’s John Makdessi and Hawaii’s Yancy Medeiros to get going — not surprising both fighters were hesitant at the start considering both were coming off brutal TKO losses to Donald Cerrone and Dustin Poirier, respectively. The two lightweights stood and traded strikes for 15 minutes with Medeiros edging out a split decision win. Medeiros ended up dropping Makdessi with a left hook in the closing seconds of the third round, but prior to that it was Makdessi who controlled the action and landed the more effective strikes.

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McGee makes triumphant return

It had been nearly two years to the day since The Ultimate Fighter 11 winner Court McGee had competed in the UFC but he opened the night with a unanimous decision victory over Marcio Alexandre Jr. With teammate Chuck Liddell cheering him on, McGee outpaced his opponent and mixed in many takedown attempts to secure the win — which took place on his 31st birthday.

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Full results…

MAIN CARD
— Conor McGregor def. Jose Aldo by KO
— Luke Rockhold def. Chris Weidman by TKO
— Yoel Romero def. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza by split decision
— Demian Maia def. Gunnar Nelson by unanimous decision
— Max Holloway def. Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision

PRELIMINARY CARD
— Urijah Faber def. Frankie Saenz by unanimous decision
— Tecia Torres def. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger by unanimous decision
— Warlley Alves def. Colby Covington by submission
— Leonardo Santos def. Kevin Lee by TKO
— Magomed Mustafaev def. Joe Proctor by TKO
— Yancy Medeiros def. John Makdessi by split decision
— Court McGee def. Marcio Alexandre Jr. by unanimous decision

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