December: The 28-Ultimate Fights Weekend
December is upon us, and that means UFC 194 is quickly approaching. This event is arguably the most anticipated event in the UFC this year, since the hype has been building up since March. The MGM Grand will be rocking that Saturday night, but we cannot forget about the events leading up to this night. On both Thursday and Friday, the UFC will be taking over The Cosmopolitan to provide two more nights of thrilling action.
The second event will take place on Friday, December 11th and has many wondering who they will be watching. Friday’s event is the live finale of The Ultimate Fighter Season 22. The season featured 18 lightweight fighters out of USA and Europe and featured what many claimed were the “best fights” on a season of TUF in quite some time.The first event of the jam-packed three-day weekend is UFC Fight Night on Thursday, December 10th. Rose Namajunas will face off with Paige VanZant for the main event of the evening at the Cosmopolitan. Leading up to this event, there are three other fights on the main card; Jim Miller will face Michael Chiesa, Sage Northcutt will face Cody Pfister, and Elias Theodorou will face Thiago Santos. The prelims will also feature 8 other bouts. This night of fights is to be shown on UFC Fight Pass.
Although it has been announced that Urijah Faber and Conor McGregor will not be fighting each other, it has not been announced which of the 18 fighters will be fighting on the final card. Not only will there be the two finalists who will battle it out for a 6-figure contract with the UFC, but there is likely going to be 3 other bouts featuring fighters from the show.
In a season of The Ultimate Fighter where we have seen some exciting fights, one can only imagine how exciting the fights will be on the live card. The fighters from the show will be the preliminary fights leading up to the main card. The main card will consist of 4 total bouts, and will be headlined by Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes. This fight is sure to be an exciting one, and is one that many felt should have happened before Chad Mendes got a shot for the interim title back in July.Fans have been anxiously awaiting the announcement, making their own predictions of who will be shown in the finals.
Will Marcin Wrzosek get the fight against Chris Gruetzemacher that he requested at the beginning of the season? Or will we see Wrzosek in the finals? As one of the arguably most entertaining fighters got eliminated this week, it is also questionable if Ryan Hall will return in the finale as well. There are many speculations that can be made about who will be featured on the live finale, but nobody will know for certain until it is officially announced within the next few days.
Despite all of the excitement on Thursday and Friday, all eyes will be looking towards UFC 194 taking place on Saturday, December 12th. The fight that has had anticipation building up since March will finally be happening. Jose Aldo, the one and only UFC Featherweight Champion and pound-for-pound best fighter in the rankings will be taking on the interim champ Conor McGregor as the co-main event. These two UFC superstars were supposed to battle it out for the belt in July at UFC 189, but Jose Aldo pulled out due to an injured rib he obtained during training. UFC Embedded, an online vlog series, showed all of the build-up between the men leading up to the fight. It had fans hyped, but unfortunately all of the excitement got put on hold due to Aldo’s injury.
Now, two of the most iconic fighters in UFC history will step into the cage to see who will get the belt. Will kingpin Aldo defend his title for a 10th time, or will McGregor swoop in and become the new champion? Fans have literally been waiting nearly all of 2015 for this fight.
The main card of the night will consist of three other bouts; Ronaldo Souza will take on Yoel Romero, Demian Maia will take on Gunnar Nelson, and Max Holloway will take on Jeremy Stephens.The other bout of the co-main event will be for the Middleweight title as Chris Weidman will defend his title against #1 ranked Luke Rockhold. Weidman will look to remain undefeated as Rockhold, the former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, will strive for another belt to be wrapped around his body.
The FOX Sports 1 preliminary cards will feature 4 fights, with the most anticipated being between Urijah Faber facing off with Frankie Saenz. Additionally, Warlley Alves will take on Colby Covington, and Leonardo Santos will take on Kevin Lee.
However, even though it is not currently listed on the UFC’s official event page, Tecia Torres will be taking on newcomer Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger. Jones-Lybarger got called up to the UFC on short-notice for this fight following Michelle Waterson’s injury that forced her to pull-out of the fight. It was confirmed on the UFC’s official website November 27th that Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger would be filling in. Jones-Lybarger, the former RFA Strawweight Champion with a record of 6-1, is coming in to this fight off of a 4-fight winning streak. Tecia Torres, who is currently 6-0, will be looking to remain undefeated.
The early prelims for UFC 194 are to be shown on UFC Fight Pass and will feature 3 bouts. Joe Proctor will take on Magomed Mustafaed, John Makdessi will take on Yancy Medeiros, and Court McGee will take on Marcio Alexandre.
The three-day weekend of fights currently has 28 bouts listed prior to the announcement of which cast members from TUF 22 will be featured on the finale. For fight fans everywhere, this is a dream come true. The weekend in Vegas should provide fight fans with a ton of excitement to close out a great year in MMA.