McGregor, Rockhold claim belts at UFC 194

Chris Weidman lost for the first time in his MMA career at UFC 194, getting knocked out by Luke Rockhold to lose the middleweight strap

Chris Weidman lost for the first time in his MMA career at UFC 194, getting knocked out by Luke Rockhold to lose the middleweight strap Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. 

Published on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 9:17 p.m. Eastern.

Conor McGregor needed only 13 seconds to take down the only featherweight champion in UFC history. Once again, he told everyone what he was going to do and then went out and did just that.

McGregor told the media in Las Vegas all week that when Jose Aldo loaded up too much with a right, he would slip the punch and counter with a precise left. That’s exactly what happened in the opening moments of their long-anticipated showdown in the main event of UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night. McGregor’s counter left floored Aldo and McGregor followed up with another punch and a hammer fist before referee John McCarthy called the fight.

McGregor, who was favored in the minus 175 range several weeks ago, closed as a +110 underdog at most betting shops. The total (2.5 rounds) saw ‘under’ (+105) backers easily cash a winner.

At his post-fight presser, McGregor revealed that he would like to go up to 155 to fight for the lightweight championship against the winner of Saturday’s bout between Rafael dos Anjos and Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone. However, he wouldn’t surrender his featherweight crown, as he wants to then go back down to 145 to defend his belt while simultaneously holding the lightweight belt. McGregor says he will stay active enough to defend both belts regularly.

Dana White confirmed McGregor can get an immediate title shot at 155 pounds.

In the co-main event, Luke Rockhold destroyed Chris ‘The All-American’ Weidman to take his middleweight title as a +130 underdog. Rockhold won by fourth-round KO, though referee Herb Dean could’ve stopped the fight much earlier on several occasions. His reluctance to do so allowed ‘over’ backers (3.5 rounds) to cash tickets.

To his credit, Weidman showed amazing toughness, but he had no answers for Rockhold, who was the better fighter in every area of the game. Whether Weidman will get a rematch remains to be seen. If not, Rockhold will probably make his first title defense against Yoel Romero.

Romero, the third-ranked middleweight, beat second-ranked Jacare Souza by split decision as a +120 underdog.

In a welterweight tilt, Demian Maia did what he does. He controlled Gunnar Nelson completely with his grappling and wrestling en route to a blowout victory via UD (30-26, 30-25, 30-25). Maia hooked up his backers as a +105 underdog.

Max Holloway won his eighth consecutive fight by UD over Jeremy Stephens as a -500 favorite. Holloway won by scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.

Urijah Faber also won by UD over Frankie Saenz in the headliner of the premlims.

conormcgregor**B.E.’s Octagon Nuggets**

–Frankie Edgar KO’d Chad Mendes in Friday’s main event of the TUF 22 Finale at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. He needed only 2:28 to dispose of Mendes, who was knocked out cold by a counter left from the Tom Rivers, New Jersey, native. A fight with McGregor looms, but you have to wonder if ‘The Answer’ will want to sit out if ‘The Notorious’ decides to take on the RDA-Cowboy winner for the lightweight belt after those two 155’ers throw down this weekend in Orlando.

–5Dimes had McGregor listed as a -225 favorite vs. Edgar on Sunday night. The total was 2.5 rounds (‘under’ -140).

Best Fight of the Weekend: In a complete no-brainer, this honor goes to Edson Barboza vs. Tony Ferguson. The co-main event was a thriller and becomes a major part of the conversation for 2015 Fight of the Year. Barboza won Round 1 on all three judges’ scorecards and Ferguson had a point deducted for an illegal kick to the face while both fighters were down. Barboza landed a slew of monster kicks and huge punches, but Ferguson was scoring plenty as well and was always on the attack. In the second round, an exchange between the fighters resulted in cuts for both men. The rest of the stanza was bloody, violent and beautiful. Ferguson nailed Barboza with a right that floored him and then he locked up a D’Arce choke that forced the Brazilian to tap out.

–Shaq liked what he saw out of McGregor.

–Joe Lauzon looked awful in getting beat up by Evan Dunham in a lightweight contest on Friday’s main card. Dunham hooked up his supporters as a -200 ‘chalk,’ winning a unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26). Lauzon always comes to fight, but that was the worst performance I’ve ever seen from him. Perhaps is was just a bad night or maybe the miles on his tires are worse for wear.

–‘Super’ Sage Northcutt looked outstanding on Thursday’s UFC Fight Night 80 card at The Cosmopolitan. He submitted Cody Phister less than a minute into the second round to improve to 2-0 in the UFC. Northcutt is a 19-year-old student at Texas A&M who has greatness written all over him. He has stated that he wants to be the youngest champion in UFC history, so he has four years to capture the 155-pound strap in order to break Jon Jones’s record. Jones beat Shogun Rua to become the light-heavyweight kingpin at the age of 23.

–McGregor posted this message to his Instagram account on Sunday…

Thank you for all the kind messages! I am extremely grateful and proud to be in the position I am in. To the naked eye it was 13 seconds, but to my team and my family it has been a lifetime of work to get to that 13 seconds. Congratulations to the staff at the UFC on a historic week in the sports history and an amazing 2015 for the company. It is an honor to be playing a part in this great companies continued growth and success and an honor to top off a phenomenal week in the sports history. Thank you to all the fans who travelled and made this week what it was!! The traveling Irish are untouchable when it comes to creating the atmosphere needed to make a week like this what it was!! I am forever blown away by the support of my country. We have changed the game forever!!! Respect to a great champion in Jose Aldo. The true greats will always overcome adversity. I wish him and his loyal team well on their journey back. Much respect. Thank you all!!!

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