UFC 194 Prelims: Urijah Faber Gets Past Game Frankie Saenz, Eyes Another Title Shot

By Brian Knapp Dec 12, 2015
Urijah Faber got past Frankie Saenz but not without considerable difficulty.

Standing elbows, a near finish in the second round and a pair of late takedowns spurred Faber to a unanimous decision against Saenz at UFC 194 “Aldo vs. McGregor” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. All three judges scored it for Faber (33-8, 9-4 UFC): 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Saenz (11-3, 3-1 UFC) held his own in the scrambles, popped the former World Extreme Cagefighting champion with leg kicks and connected with a few nasty uppercuts. His situation took a turn for the worse in the second round, where Faber landed a knee to the temple in the center of the cage, leaving him visibly compromised. The Team Alpha Male patriarch pushed Saenz to the fence, ripped away with elbows and pursued the stoppage to the point of exhaustion. Saenz somehow survived but never could turn the corner against the fatigued Faber, who stayed out in front with two takedowns in the waning moments of round three.

Afterward, “The California Kid” set his sights on the winner of the Jan. 17 showdown between bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz.

Related » UFC 194 Round-by-Round Scoring

Unbeaten Torres Denies Jones-Lybarger

Crisp combination punching and committed clinch work carried American Top Team’s Tecia Torres to a unanimous decision over former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger in a preliminary matchup at 115 pounds. All three judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Torres (7-0, 3-0 UFC).

A replacement for the injured Michelle Waterson, Jones-Lybarger (6-2, 0-1 UFC) had no answer for “The Ultimate Fighter 20” graduate’s skilled hands and superior speed. Torres tagged her repeatedly with two-, three- and four-punch volleys. Her right hand was particularly effective and raised significant swelling on the left side of Jones-Lybarger’s face. Torres closed it out with a strong third round, where she let her hands go in an exquisite sequence.

The loss halted a four-fight winning streak for Jones-Lybarger.

Alves Guillotine Submits Covington

“The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” Season 3 winner Warlley Alves submitted Colby Covington with a first-round guillotine choke in an undercard tilt between undefeated welterweight prospects. Covington (8-1, 3-1 UFC) conceded defeat 86 seconds into round one.

Alves (10-0, 4-0 UFC) pressed forward against the American Top Team-trained wrestler, yielded a takedown and quickly returned to his feet after eating an elbow. Covington remained engaged in the clinch, allowing the Brazilian to jump to guillotine position. He tried unsuccessfully to slam his way out of Alves’ clutches and had no recourse but to tap.

Santos Upsets Prospect Lee

Multiple-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Leonardo Santos dispatched Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts prospect Kevin Lee with first-round punches in their preliminary lightweight encounter. Unbeaten across his past 10 fights, Santos (15-3-1, 4-0-1 UFC) finished it 3:26 into round one.

Lee (11-2, 4-2 UFC) let down his guard and paid the price. Santos cut off his momentum with a perfectly timed takedown and later countered an ill-advised uppercut from the 23-year-old with a two-punch combination, an overhand right dropping Lee where he stood. The Nova Uniao export afforded him no opportunity to recover, as he pounced with unanswered punches until referee John McCarthy had seen enough.

The setback snapped Lee’s four-fight winning streak.

Mustafaev Wins 12th Straight

Magomed Mustafaev put away “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 quarterfinalist Joe Proctor with first-round knee strikes and punches in an undercard battle at 155 pounds. Mustafaev (13-1, 2-0 UFC) brought it to a close 1:54 into round one.

Proctor (11-4, 4-3 UFC) was on the defensive from the start, Mustafaev’s startling blend of speed, power and aggression keeping him on his heels. Two brutal body kicks from the M-1 Global alum doubled over Proctor and set the finish in motion. Mustafaev backed the Joe Lauzon protégé into the cage and unleashed a torrent of knees and punches that drove him to the canvas, where a final burst of right hands then forced the stoppage.

Mustafaev, 27, has won 12 fights in a row.

Medeiros Split Decision Stings Makdessi

Yancy Medeiros won for the third time in four appearances, as he eked out a split decision over Tristar Gym export John Makdessi in a preliminary lightweight scrap. Judges Lester Griffin and Marcos Rosales scored it 29-28 for Medeiros, while judge Sal D’Amato saw it 29-28 for Makdessi.

All three rounds were close, with the Hawaiian pecking away with single strikes from the outside and Makdessi mixing his kicks with punches. Medeiros (12-3, 3-3 UFC) landed the most decisive blow of the fight late in the third round, as he knocked down the Canadian with a short left hook and followed up with punches. In a bout that seemed too close to call, it likely provided the difference.

Makdessi (13-5, 6-5 UFC) has suffered back-to-back defeats for just the second time in his career.

Returning McGee Grinds Down Alexandre

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 winner Court McGee made a successful return from a two-year absence, as he took a unanimous decision from Marcio Alexandre Jr. in a three-round undercard clash at 170 pounds. McGee (17-4, 6-3 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks from the judges.

Alexandre (11-3, 0-3 UFC) connected with a few kicks and straight lefts but could not handle the pace and pressure brought against him. McGee pursued the clinch, wore down the Brazilian karateka in close quarters, executed a pair of third-round takedowns and put the finishing touches on his performance with some elbow-laced ground-and-pound.

The 31-year-old McGee has won three of his last four fights.


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