(Dave Mandel/Sherdog)UFC 194: Preliminary Card Breakdown and Preview Jake Schneider December 11, 2015 Events, News, Previews, Promotions, Spotlight, UFC With the amount of star power present on the UFC 194 card this Saturday night, some might say it is one of the best cards in UFC history. With that being said, a lot of the fights outside of the main and co-main event are being overlooked, so here is a breakdown of truly how deep and important this event is on December 12. To open up the event, TUF 11 winner Court McGee is making his long anticipated return after having a nearly two year layoff due to an injury to his wrist that was almost career ending. He is looking to make up lost time with a big time performance against Marcio “Lyoto” Alexandre Jr. who is in desperate need of a win as well, going 0-2 thus far in his UFC stint. The next fight is a bout between two exciting finishers who are both looking to bounce back from loses to respectable opponents. John Makdessi is coming off the biggest fight of his career where he stepped up on short notice to take on current title challenger Donald Cerrone. Although Makdessi called the bout off in the third after taking a kick to the face that broke his jaw, he showed great heart in a fight that was supposed to be an easy win for Cerrone. With a record of 13-4 and ability to have highlight reel finishes in the Octagon, an impressive win for Makdessi on Saturday night should result in a big step up in competition. Similarly to Makdessi, Yancy Medeiros is coming off a loss against a highly respected opponent in Dustin Porier, which snapped his two fight win streak. Medeiros has a professional record of 11-3, with all three of those losses coming from reputable opponents. He is looking to show that he belongs in the deep lightweight division by having an impressive performance against Makdessi. This fight has all the makings to produce fireworks and will most likely play out on the feet. This is a great matchup were I expect both fighters to come out fast looking for the finish. Another exciting matchup to close out the fight pass prelims is Joe Proctor vs. Magomed Mustafaev. Proctor, who was first seen on season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter, has pilled up a record of 4-2 under the UFC promotion and is looking to add another win against a highly respected opponent in Mustafaev. Mustafaev has a professional record of of 12-1 and has won 11 straight, including his debut performance against Piotr Hallman back in June where he stopped him via second round doctor stoppage in a bout where he looked very impressive. Magomed is a highly respected prospect in the UFC with a ton of potential to make a name for himself with an impressive win against a proven opponent in Proctor. Proctor’s strength is his excellent offense and powerful striking, but a weakness he has shown thus far in his mixed martial arts career has been his striking defense. With Mustafaev having all 12 of his wins finishes (11 KO/TKO and 4 Submissions) Proctor is going to have to go into this bout with his biggest hole in his game, defense, being gradually improved, or it can be a short night for the TUF veteran. Then, of course, we have Kevin Lee vs. Leonardo Santos. Lee, just 22 years old is one of the most overlooked prospects the UFC has in the 155 pound division. Lee has had no problem expressing to Twitter recently how overlooked he truly feels. He has engaged on Twitter numerous times with how he feels he is one of the best lightweights on the roster and had made a serious push for wanting to halt the Sage Northcutt hype train after the buzz began of Northcutt being the next “star”. This is a bout between two great prospects that are both looking to make a statement, but only one of these fighters will be able to walk away with a win that could propel them into the 155-pound rankings. Warlley Alves vs. Colby Covington is a matchup between two undefeated prospects that are both putting their perfect record on the line when they step foot in the Octagon. This is an awesome matchup in the welterweight division that can truly go either way and based on the Vegas betting odds, they indicate how razor thin this matchup is. Alves is going to come into this bout wanting to strike and keep the fight standing while Covington is going to want to use his wrestling background to bring the fight to the mat, so this fight is really going to come down to who can establish their strength first, whether it be Covington establishing the takedowns early on or Alves using his superior striking to hurt Covington and dictate the pace of the fight. Originally set to face Michelle Waterson until she was forced out of the bout due to a knee injury, #5 ranked Tecia Torres is now fighting Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) strawweight champion Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger. With a short notice victory over one of the most proven fighters in the division, Lybarger can get herself right into the rankings in the new and shallow strawweight division with a win without a full camp against Torres. Although this is a short notice fight with Lybarger making her debut, this is an extremely competitive fight between two strawweights that are both going to be looking to make a push in the division. The main event of the fox sports prelims is the always popular Urijah Faber going up against #14 ranked Frankie Saenz. Saenz has a perfect 3-0 record in the UFC with on of those wins being a huge underdog victory against Iuri Alcantara. He is fighting by far his biggest test to date when he goes up against former WEC champion and two time UFC title challenger in Faber. With a win over Faber, who is one of the biggest names in the UFC, Saenz will get a huge boost in the rankings and with another win or two will be set right up for a title shot. This bout is huge for Faber for many different reasons. One reason being at this point in his career and at the age of 36, he is running out of time to ever become a champion in the UFC, and with a loss Saturday night, I don’t see it being possible for him to ever getting one more go at the title. The second reason is he is facing a fighter that he is far superior in at almost every aspect of mixed martial arts and with Saenz being ranked #14, this is a mismatch for Saenz. With only three UFC fights under his belt, he is nowhere close to being ready for this fight at this point in his career.