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UFC's McGregor proves he is more than a mouth

2015-12-13 21:14
Conor McGregor (supplied)

Cape Town - The sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada played host to one of the biggest events in UFC history on Saturday night.

Two title fights, two title changes and one of the most incredible in-cage moments in the 22-year history of the UFC according to MMALatestNews.com.

Jose Aldo (25-1) and Conor McGregor (19-2) was meant to be a fight for the ages. It had been built with a world press tour that saw both men’s contrasting personalities clash over, and over, and over again. It had been ripped away from us at UFC 189 when Aldo was forced out of the bout with a rib injury. Had Chad Mendes played spoiler when he stepped in to face McGregor at that pay-per-view, we might have been robbed of the fight completely. Yet finally it was here, and it was going to be a war.

And it was. A short, decisive, definitive one that left everyone watching it breathless. The opening bell rang as the crowd got to their feet. Only 13 seconds later Jose Aldo was laying on his back with his arms by his side and referee John McCarthy was stopping the fight. The two men had met head on in the centre of the octagon, with Aldo happy to stand in the pocket and fire off a straight-right, left-hook combination. McGregor fired a counter left-hook that landed perfectly and sent Aldo crashing face first to the mat. A couple of hammerfists followed but they were academic. Aldo was out before he hit the mat. The interim and world featherweight titles were unified, and Conor McGregor had fulfilled his prophecy of dethroning the only champion the UFC’s 145-pound division had ever known.

In the co-main event the two best 185-pound fighters on the planet collided. The impact gave us a new middleweight champion of the world and his name is Luke Rockhold (15-2). Defending champion Chris Weidman (13-1) came out strong in the opening round, taking the challenger’s back early and competing hard throughout. It was the only round he would win. Rockhold found a regular home for his thunderous body kicks as the fight progressed, and he was more than holding his own in the scrambles and grappling exchanges. After Weidman threw a spinning kick in the third round that left his back exposed, Rockhold rode him to the mat, moved to mount, and unloaded with elbows and punches. By the time the round was done many were questioning why referee Herb Dean had not stopped the fight, and Weidman was staggering back against the cage to hold himself up. There was no coming back from that. Little more than three minutes into the following round, Rockhold once again found himself on top of Weidman, and this time the referee intervened

Before Yoel Romero (11-1) and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (22-4) stepped into the octagon in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the general consensus was that both men were ready to challenge for the middleweight title. Between them, they carried a perfect 11-0 UFC record into the cage, and it was clear that the winner would be next in line for a shot at 185-pound gold. Romero was at his explosive best in the first round, hurting Jacare with a spinning back fist and battering him with hard punches on the ground. Jacare survived and eventually came on strong in the third round, but it was not enough to sway two of the three judges. With the split decision win, Romero’s UFC record improved to 7-0 and he now holds wins over three of the current UFC top ten.

When the welterweight clash between Gunnar Nelson (14-2) and Demian Maia (22-6) was announced, grappling fans everywhere rejoiced. Their expectations were met, as the majority of the action took place on the mat. It was Maia who put on a masterclass, controlling Nelson over fifteen minutes. Dominant position followed dominant position, as Maia landed unanswered punches and elbows to leave no doubt that the judges would rule in his favor. All three did emphatically, as the Brazilian made it 3-0 for 2015 and extended his winning streak to four inside the octagon.

Earlier in the night it was the featherweights who opened up the main card as Max Holloway (15-3) and Jeremy Stephens (24-12) met in a fight that gathered pace as it progressed. Holloway was the slicker of the two fighters, outmaneuvering his opponent through all three rounds, getting the nod on each of the judges scorecards. This was Holloway’s eighth straight win and furthered his claim for a title shot.

UFC 194 results

Conor McGregor def. Jose Aldo via KO (Punch) R1 0:13

Luke Rockhold def. Chris Weidman via TKO (punches) Round 4, 3:12

Yoel Romero def. Ronaldo Souza via split decision (29-27, 29-28, 28-29)

Demian Maia def. Gunnar Nelson via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)

Max Holloway def. Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Urijah Faber def. Frankie Saenz via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Tecia Torres def. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Warlley Alves def. Colby Covington via submission (guillotine choke) Round 1, 1:26

Leonardo Santos def. Kevin Lee via TKO (punches) Round 1, 3:26

Magomed Mustafaev def. Joe Proctor via TKO (knees and punches) Round 1, 1:54

Yancy Medeiros def. John Makdessi via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Court McGee def. Marcio Alexandre Jr. via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

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