UFC 194 promises to be one of the best pay-per-views the promotion has ever assembled, and two more bouts have been added to likely finalize the bout lineup. Last night, UFC officials confirmed the previous report of Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens, but also a bantamweight bout between Urijah Faber and Frankie Saenz. Then on Friday, welterweights Demian Maia and Gunnar Nelson were also announced for the December 12th mega-card in Las Vegas.
Faber (32-8) is coming off a loss to Frankie Edgar in a featherweight main event at UFC Manila. It marked the first time that "The California Kid" had ever lost a non-title fight. Faber is otherwise 9-3 at 135 lbs, with his last win in the division coming in controversial fashion against Francisco Rivera. Saenz (11-2) has won his last 7, with 3 coming inside the Octagon. The 35-year-old edged out Sirwan Kakai by split decision last month, but his biggest win to date is a decision win vs. Iuri Alcantara. While Saenz may be an underdog in this one, it should be noted that Faber is 0-1 vs. fighters named Frankie.
Maia (21-6) has won 3 in a row, including a thoroughly dominating performance and submission win over Neil Magny at UFC 190. The BJJ wizard turns 38 in two months and still remains very much relevant in the top 10 of 170 pounds. Initially, Maia was going to return earlier than UFC 194, but a staph infection set his timetable back. Nelson (14-1-1) recovered from his loss to Rick Story with a great showing vs. Brandon Thatch. The Icelandic talent dropped Thatch with punches before working him over on the ground and getting the rear-naked choke finish. Nelson's own grappling credentials are well regarded, particularly his win over Jeff Monson at the 2011 ADCCs, but this is clearly the best BJJ specialist and overall MMA fighter he's ever faced in his career. It should make for terrific viewing.
UFC 194 features Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor for the undisputed featherweight title, Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold for the middleweight title, Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo Souza for the likely #1 contender spot at middleweight, as well as Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens at featherweight.