UFC 142: 5 Bold Predictions for Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes
Aldo is coming off his second defense of the UFC featherweight title against Kenny Florian. Florian gave Aldo a challenge, but he didn't have what it took to get the job done.
Chad Mendes will be one of the toughest challenges of Aldo's career. Mendes is 11-0 coming into this fight and brings with him an elite wrestling base. He has no problem putting it on display, as he has wrestled his way to four unanimous decision victories in a row.
Mendes is one of the best wrestlers Aldo will have faced, and it'll be interesting to see how these two styles clash.
Here are five bold predictions for UFC 142's main event.
Mendes Will Take Aldo Down
Chad Mendes is a former NCAA Division I wrestler.
He has used his explosive wrestling in the vast majority of his fights and will do the same against Aldo. Even though his striking has improved since the early part of his career, he will always turn to his wrestling first to dictate the action.
Aldo has showed inconsistent takedown defense. We saw Kenny Florian struggle to get the Brazilian to the ground, but Mark Hominick was able to put Aldo on his back when they fought.
Mendes' caliber of wrestling is above both of those fighters, and he should be able to get Aldo to the ground for at least part of the fight.
Mendes Won't Be Able to Keep Aldo Down
While Mendes will certainly be able to get Aldo down at some point, I don't believe that he will be able to keep him there for the entire fight.
Aldo has some of the slickest jiu-jitsu in MMA, according to many of his training partners. There have been stories of Aldo submitting Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts in training, even though he only has two submission victories in professional MMA competition.
I don't think that we will see Aldo use his jiu-jitsu to submit Mendes, but he will use it to get back to his feet.
Aldo is going to have the advantage on the feet and knows he will most likely need to get off his back at some point in this fight. I expect him to be prepared to do so.
Mendes Can't and Won't Finish Aldo
Chad Mendes has never been an elite finisher, and that won't change against Jose Aldo.
Mendes only has four finishes in his professional career and only one of those has come in WEC or UFC competition. He was able to submit Anthony Morrison at WEC 48 way back in April of 2010.
His striking has certainly improved, but he is not going to be able to outstrike Jose Aldo.
Mendes' best chance at winning this fight will be controlling Aldo on the ground. As boring for some fans as it may be, Mendes will try to turn this fight into a wrestling match, based on control rather than ground-and-pound.
If this fight stops before the five fights are over, it won't be because of Chad Mendes.
Aldo's Reach Advantage Will Be Crucial
Jose Aldo comes into this fight with not only a superior striking game, but with a four-inch reach advantage over Mendes.
Aldo can attack his opponents with punches and kicks from a variety of angles. He has lightning-fast speed that overwhelms the fighters that challenge him on the feet.
Against Mendes, Aldo will be able to dictate the action on the feet by using quick strikes and range. Any attempts at striking with Aldo will require Mendes to push forward, which could lead to some deadly counter shots.
I don't expect to see a flurry of strikes or bull rush from Aldo, but rather a technical striking display that will pick Mendes apart.
Aldo Will Finish Mendes
Jose Aldo has battled his way to two decision victories since joining the UFC in the WEC merger that took place in 2010.
Aldo came to the UFC hyped by his elite striking and crazy finishes. The fans were expecting to see a featherweight that had the power to stop any opponent he was matched up against.
Although some were disappointed with his debut against Hominick and his second defense against Florian, Aldo has certainly displayed that elite striking in short doses.
I believe that this fight against Mendes will be Aldo's launch into stardom in the UFC.
I expect to see Aldo battle with Mendes, wrestling in the early rounds of the fight. However, by the time the third and fourth rounds roll around, we will see Aldo connect with a strike that will stop Mendes.
It could be something as simple as a clean hook or as flashy as a flying knee. Either way, I see Aldo finishing Mendes and retaining his featherweight title.