Changing of the Guard in Vegas (UFC 194 Review)

ufc_194There is no bigger rivalry in MMA right now than the one that was created between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor.

There have been plenty of these rivalries throughout the history of the UFC and the greatest thing about these rivalries is that they finally get solved.

Unlike in most sports where one athlete is pitted against another things get solved in the most definitive way that a rivalry can be solved.

Rivalries like Brady-Manning or Crosby-Ovechkin are the lifeblood of great team rivalries but more often than not neither player really faces each other as they are rarely on the field or the ice at the same time.

In MMA that is significantly different as two rivalries face-off head to head where the winner of the rivalry gets to end the fight with their hand raised.

When two fighters compete to see who is best they get to solve that with a fight against each other and the debate ends, at least most of the time.

Whether it was the Jones-Cormier rivalry or the Diaz-Everyone rivalry in the end one was determined to be better than the other.

That will be the case at the end of UFC 194 when the McGregor-Aldo rivalry is finally solved after a year of build-up.

That is what makes this rivalry so great after all as the Aldo-McGregor fight was a long time coming.

McGregor came into the UFC with plenty of hype surrounding him and he matched that hype winning all of his fights and only going to a decision once.

In every win he called out the only featherweight champion that the UFC has ever seen and after a KO win over Dennis Siver he got his wish.

The UFC announced that McGregor would fight Aldo for the title and they began a worldwide media tour to build the fight.

During that tour McGregor and Aldo went back and forth talking and almost fighting on stage as the hatred grew between the two fighters.

Then Aldo dropped out of the fight after breaking a rib training leaving McGregor to fight Chad Mendes for the interim title.

McGregor won the fight, even after some scary moments, and began, once again, calling out the champion claiming that he ran from the fight.mma-sidebar.fw

After all of that build up the two were finally set to fight at UFC 194 in the end of a busy week of fights with a bang.

Before that rivalry was to be solved another title race had to be solved as Chris Weidman was set to defend his middleweight title against Luke Rockhold.

It may not have had the talk or the rivalry surrounding it like the main event but it was a big fight nonetheless.

After beating Anderson Silva twice, Weidman was looking to emerge from the former champion’s shadow and build his own legend.

He had beaten the biggest names already in Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort and now was set to take on former Strikeforce champion Rockhold.

For Weidman it was a chance to continue his reign as the champion and build a legacy while for Rockhold it was a chance to prove what many thought he could be when he first entered the UFC.

Rockhold came in with plenty of confidence and the champion did not lack his own confidence and that showed in the initial exchanges.

It was a fairly even fight through the first round when Rockhold took two attempts at a guillotine but neither could finish the fight.

It wasn’t until the third round where Weidman through a big heel kick that was caught by Rockhold who put the fight on the ground and began unloading on the champion.

ufc_194iiDespite the brutal beating that Rockhold laid on Weidman the fight was not stopped with the referee believing he was doing just enough to stay alive.

The fourth round was more of the same as the third as Rockhold put the fight on the ground and continued his ground and pound, this time forcing the referee to end the fight.

It was a great showing by the former Strikeforce champion and a convincing win over the now former champion.

Weidman will look to get back to the title and likely will eventually but for Rockhold it will likely be Yoel Romero, who beat Ronaldo Souza earlier in the night, who will get the next shot for the middleweight title.

After Rockhold took home the belt it was time for the rivalry to be solved as the long –awaited battle between creative striker McGregor and well-rounded champion Aldo was here.

Before the fight McGregor made his usual prediction, a prediction that has come true in every fight he has had, stating that after the first exchange Aldo would be out in under four minutes.

It took far less time than that as the first exchange saw McGregor throw a big left hand that landed right on the chin of Aldo, who was throwing his own right hand.

Aldo went down even after hitting McGregor with that right hand and took two more shots on the ground before the referee ended things.

In all it was thirteen seconds from the time the bell rung until McGregor earned the featherweight title that he told everyone he was going to win.

The fight was so quick that Aldo, who hadn’t lost in over a decade, will likely not get a rematch, at least yet, as Frankie Edgar won his fight against Chad Mendes the day before UFC 194.

That win will likely give Edgar the next shot while Aldo waits for the winner as another fight may separate him from the title he owned for years.

In the theme of the end of 2015 two champions lost their belts as a new year will mean new championship reigns to watch throughout 2016.

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