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UFC 194 preview: Jose Aldo vs Conor McGregor full fight breakdown with FOX Sports 1 analyst Brian Stann

UFC on FOX analyst Brian Stann breaks down the UFC 194 main event between current Featherweight champion Jose Aldo and interim 145-pound kingpin Conor McGregor, which takes place later tonight (Ssat., Dec. 12, 2015) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

FOX Sports

The wait is finally over for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight title-unification bout.

Later this evening (Sat., Dec. 12, 2015) inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, current UFC Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, and his "interim" counterpart, Conor McGregor, will meet in the Octagon in what could end up being one of the most important fights in the division's history.

The lead up to this fight has been huge -- McGregor's talk has been ongoing and Aldo's reign as champion has lasted a very, very long time.

McGregor, 27, is coming off a knockout victory over Chad Mendes -- who filled in for an injured Aldo at UFC 189 -- and has taken the division by storm, winning all six of his fights since his debut in 2013 and has finished five of his opponents.

Aldo, 29, has defended his featherweight title seven straight times in the UFC, hasn't lost in more than 10 years and has won 18 fights in a row. In his last fight, the champion won a unanimous decision over Mendes at UFC 179.

Brian Stann, the retired UFC Middleweight and current UFC on FOX analyst, spoke with, providing a full-scale breakdown on the match up between the Brazilian pound-for-pound legend and the brash and talented young Irishman.

McGregor's mental game

"The 'X' factor in this fight is Conor's mental game. He's chirped and chirped, slapped him in the face, insulted his country, he's done everything he could to make Jose Aldo furious. Can Aldo channel it? Can he control it? Can he fight emotion-free? Because when that bell sounds you are going to see Conor walk with his arms wide in the air and he's going to start the mental game right away. He's going to taunt. He's going to get in front of him. Can Jose Aldo control himself and execute? You can't measure that in technique or years of training. Conor is really good at getting guys to get out of their game plan to do something stupid. And when you are mad and trying to hit him he is just working his game. He steps back and he is extremely accurate with his strikes."

Aldo's offensive wrestling

"Another thing people over look, go back and watch the Ricardo Lamas fight and 'The Korean Zombie' fight and you are going to see a whole lot of takedowns by Jose Aldo. Jose Aldo has very good offensive wrestling. It is good enough to take Conor McGregor down, I believe. And if he chooses to do that consistently, this could be a very different fight. Jose Aldo isn't just good on the ground. Aldo has submitted world champions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition."

Aldo's leg kicks

"Everybody knows Jose Aldo has the most brutal leg kicks in the game. Conor puts his right leg right out there and it's such a traditional stance that it's right there. His coaches know that. He knows that. And In fights where Aldo gets those kicks checked like he did against 'The Korean Zombie,' ... Broke his foot in that fight. He only kicked him once. If he loses that weapon and can't use that weapon, that is a big part of his striking arsenal. Now, that being said, if Conor doesn't check it and doesn't break his foot and he eats a couple of those, it can greatly neutralize the striking game of Conor McGregor. Conor cannot underestimate how powerful those kicks are. If you sit cageside like I have for two Jose Aldo fights, I don't care what weight class you are in, Jose Aldo can kick Fabricio Werdum's leg three times, Fabricio Werdum is not walking out of the Octagon."

Leg kicks vs. Southpaw fighter

"I think it is even more effective, especially when you go to the calf. Look at the card we just had a few weeks ago that I called, where we had guys kicking a little bit lower and kicking each other's calf. Look what Ricardo Lamas did to Diego Sanchez, whose pain tolerance is through the roof. He about ripped his calf muscle off the bone. And the other thing is there is a lot more pressure on the knee when you kick it the opposite way. There is a lot more pressure on the knee when you kick to the inside. They will take a guys leg off."

McGregor's kicking arsenal and range advantage

"I've never seen a guy kick as hard as Jose Aldo, with the type of velocity that he does. I think that is a big weapon in this fight, especially because Aldo has to get inside. He has to limit the footwork. He has to limit the range distance. He has to get inside of Conor, because at that distance Conor has the advantage. He's the bigger, longer guy and he's really, really good at fighting long. He uses a lot of front kicks, spinning-back kicks, side kicks. He does  a lot of things to keep you where he wants you and when he gets those fists on you he does hit very hard. He's a massive guy at 145 pounds. If this fight takes place and Jose Aldo sits back a little bit too much like we've seen him do in a couple of his title defenses, he is going to get hurt. He has to get inside. He has to fake and feint. Use wrestling to open up his striking. He has to get in Conor's face and not allow him to dictate the pace of the fight."

How did Aldo prepare for unique skill set of McGregor?

"He's got a wide arsenal. I think there are two ways that guys train for things like that. One, is they have guys in there gym that don't normally fight like that, just throw those techniques, but they are not as accurate or powerful. The other thing is they bring in people that can do those kinds of things and they get used to them. Or, use someone at Nova Uniao who can do those kinds of things. We've seen spinning-back kicks from Renen Bararo, but we haven't seen the type of striking that's on display from Conor McGregor. So, that will be interesting to see how Jose deals with that kind of timing from a guy who strikes that natural that way and powerful. How does he deal with it? Does he catch those kicks and take the other leg out? How is he going to defend it?"

Seeing Aldo's speed and power first hand

"I will tell you, when I saw him fight Chad Mendes the second fight -- and I called that fight live -- I haven't seen a guy strike with that kind of speed and power in that combination like Jose Aldo did. When Chad would tag him and Jose would come back, those combinations were so fast it was hard to believe. He's just that level of an athlete. But again, he's got to be in range to land them."

Mental toughness and its factor in fights

"I like to think I'm pretty accurate in that measure (spotting a fighter who is mentally tough). Not that I keep track of it. I don't talk about it that much. Having been around the military for so long and then fighters for so long. You are around a lot of fake people and phony people. There are a lot off fighters who are really, really good gym fighters, and they can never really take advantage in the Octagon.

"And I will tell that sometimes it's not who the better fighter is, it's who fights best in that moment. When you have these high matchup fights, of course, you are going to have that aren't mentally as tough, but they are just so physically gifted, they are going to beat other fighters in some matchups. But when they are matched up pretty even, typically the winner is going to be the mentally stronger person, minus a devastating blow. A mentally stronger person, who has more resiliency is going to be the one who goes out there and executes, deals with the moment and tackles the moment for what it is and goes out there and executes."

Both would rather die than lose to the other

"And what we've seen from Conor so far is he's built these massive stages for him to go out and perform on, and then he's gone out and executed exactly how he said he was going to. That's a guy who is extremely focused. There is nothing else in his life that matters to him, does not come as close as this. He came into it for a reason and he's got his goals and he is just relentless. He'd rather die than lose this fight to Jose Aldo. And the same can be said for the other side. I think he would rather die than take a plane ride back to Rio de Janeiro without that belt."

The pick

"Right now, I have Jose Aldo with a slight edge and my reasoning is such that I believe he is one of the best athletes, if not the best athlete we've ever seen in the UFC. You have guys like him, Jon Jones, Yoel Romero, guys that are just incredibly gifted athletes. He is a phenomenal fighter in every aspect of the game. Pound-for-pound without Jon Jones, he's number two. And because of his background. You can trash talk a lot of guys and you can get them to really doubt themselves. But, when you have a guy like Jose Aldo, who comes from a type of poverty that most people in America couldn't even fathom. He comes from that kind of background and I think it's hard to rattle guys like that. I think he will stay poised enough to go out and get a win and eventually he may take Conor down where he does have a pretty sizable advantage on the ground. Jose has submitted world champion-level guys. I don't know if it will be a decision, but I give a slight edge to Aldo in this fight." will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 194 fight card below, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

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