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UFC 194 Picks

UFC 194 Picks
When: Saturday, December 12th, 2015 at 9:00PM EST
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
by Scott of

Fight Analysis:

On December 12, the UFC comes to Las Vegas at the MGM for a double-title bill headlined by the bantamweight title bout between champion Jose Aldo and interim champion Conor McGregor. This bout has been postponed before and is a highly-awaited battle between the long-reigning champion Aldo, undefeated for over 8 years and the hyped McGregor, who has become a media sensation with his bombastic style and recent run of dominant wins. In the co-feature, middleweight champion Chris Weidman defends his title against Luke Rockhold in what is anticipated to be a competitive championship bout. Who will come out ahead in this pair of UFC championship bouts.

Jose Aldo, 25-1 (14 KOs, 2 Submissions), (+140) vs. Conor McGregor, 18-2 (16 KOs, 1 Submission), (-160)
UFC Bantamweight Champion Jose Aldo takes on interim champion Conor McGregor in the main event. These are easily the two best 145-pounders in the world. Aldo, 29, has made 7 defenses of his title and looks to score his career-best win in this bout. McGregor, 27, has been chomping at the bit and is coming off a 2nd-round KO of Chad Mendes.

Some might wonder how a 29-year old champion with 7 defenses who hasn’t lost in almost a decade is an underdog to a twice-beaten challenger in his first real title bout. One part of the equation is the supposed erosion of Aldo, a veteran who has been through some wars at the highest level of the sport. He has fought Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes twice, Kenny Florian, Frankie Edgar, and other tough fighters. A lot of them were taxing fights. And we also see that with a lot of postponements as of late, his body isn’t holding up as well as it used to.

Meanwhile, McGregor has been rising and captivated the masses with his over-the top confidence and confrontational trash-talk. What has given the talk an air of truth is a string of memorable performances. All but two of his career wins are by knockout. He is unquestionably a world-class striker, able to end fights suddenly. He throws strikes with a freakish suddenness, where the opponent cannot physically or mentally brace for the shot. And it’s the ones you don’t expect or see coming that will get you.

The risk in this fight for McGregor backers is that you end up paying a price for all the histrionics. If he had just quietly gone about his business, he would likely be an underdog, as is always the case when an accomplished champion faces a challenger in his first title bout. His approach has certainly helped McGregor’s financial status, but it doesn’t make him much of a value in this fight from a betting standpoint.

McGregor is not invulnerable. Even in his last fight, he showed that he can sometimes become lost when an opponent keeps him on the floor. But McGregor also showed he can get through a tough fight and always be in a position to end it suddenly. I don’t think the value is that great, but I see the fresher and younger McGregor winning this fight.

My Pick to Win: I’m betting on Conor McGregor at -160 to win. He’s younger, at his peak, and more-dangerous, while the wars and injuries may have started catching up with Aldo. Bet your pick online using your credit card at Bovada Sportsbook. They will give you an extra 50% on top of what you deposit, up to $250 in free cash!

Chris Weidman, 13-0 (6 KOs, 3 Submissions), (-175) vs. Luke Rockhold, 14-2 (3 KOs, 9 Submissions), (+155)
UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman defends his belt against top challenger Luke Rockhold in the co-main event. The unbeaten champion Weidman, 13-0, makes his second defense of the year and his 4th overall. In May, he disposed of Vitor Belfort in the first round. For a fighter with 13 fights, he has a lot on his resume, with two wins over Anderson Silva and wins over Lyoto Machida and Belfort. Rockhold, 14-2, is coming off a win over Lyoto Machida in April—his third submission win in a row.

The 31-year old Rockhold is certainly a difficult challenger. He is very angular, a lanky 6’3” middleweight who excels at submissions moves. Since being destroyed by Vitor Belfort in 2013, he has looked really good, beating 4 good middleweights—all by the stoppage route. He holds wins over Jacare Souza, Tim Kennedy, Tim Boetsch, Michael Bisping, and others. He is well-tested and other than a loss to a TRT-enhanced Belfort, he has come up roses in all his bouts. The only other loss on his record came back in 2007 during his formative years in the sport.

Weidman, also 31, has been out of sight and therefore, out of mind. With one fight in 2014 and one so far in 2015, he has been on the shelf for extended stretches, with some injuries rearing their head. It might make people feel that Weidman is breaking down. But there have been no outward signs of any decline in his actual octagon appearances. He does a lot of things that don’t leap off the screen. He even has somewhat of a dull vibe, even though his fight with Lyoto Machida was one of the best fights of 2014.

There is an all-around solidness to Weidman’s game. He does a lot of the little things. He is as durable as they come. Rockhold is as dangerous a 185-pounder as there is in the UFC. But Weidman’s overall experience at this level, in addition to his robustness, make him more bankable in this spot. I’m taking Weidman.

My Prediction to Win: I’m betting on Chris Weidman at -175. I prefer his overall solid game and greater durability and experience over Rockhold’s submission excellence. Bet your Weidman/Rockhold prediction at an online sportsbook where you get a 100% bonus on your deposit of $100! Credit cards work here! --> MyBookie!

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