UFC 142: Saturday Is Crunch Time for Money Mendes

Michael EvansCorrespondent IIIJanuary 11, 2012

I am one of those guys who used to hate on the foreign talent a bit. I just have national pride that I guess I picked up when I was young watching the Olympics. In all reality I just didn't want to admit that the Brazilians could and would storm the gates of the UFC and capture all of the major titles.

But, that was in 2006. That was a time when I still felt that Rich Franklin could beat Anderson Silva. Needless to say my perceptions have changed. Anderson Silva is the greatest UFC fighter of all time and Rich Franklin is now banged-up and recovering from yet another surgery. The UFC is so big in the country of Brazil that the organization wants to do a show in a soccer stadium later this year that could draw 100,000 rabid fans.

Brazil is quickly challenging Canada as the new mecca of mixed martial arts.

One of the top Brazilian fighters in the world is Jose Aldo Jr. Aldo is a nightmare matchup for any man anywhere near his size. He has devastating punches, leg kicks and flying knees. He has an excellent jiu-jitsu game. He can take you down and stop you from doing the same.

It may be an overused term, but Jose Aldo is a beast. Across the board he is considered in the top five pound-for-pound in the world. Aldo looks to defend the UFC featherweight championship for a third time at UFC 142. He will be fighting in front of a highly exuberant hometown crowd. The fight is his to lose. To be the man you have got to beat the man, as Ric Flair used to always say.

Standing on the opposite side of the Octagon on Saturday night will be Team Alpha Male standout Chad "Money" Mendes. Although Mendes has failed to finish fights in the UFC, he has been dominant and has recently shown an improved standup game that can help set up his powerful double leg takedowns.

It is fairly safe to say, in theory, that Mendes will get this fight to the ground. Yes, I know that Aldo has trained with Gray Maynard in his camp for this fight, but Mendes has wrestling in his DNA.

Chad Mendes trains with Urijah Faber and a lot of other explosive wrestlers. He has also trained in the sport his entire life. It is very safe to say that Mendes can take the champion down. It is harder to say what Jose Aldo will do off of his back. Will Aldo panic if he is put through the meat grinder?

Jose Aldo has great jiu-jitsu that will be a great counter for the offensive wrestling and top game of Chad Mendes.

Chad Mendes can win this fight if he does what he does best, drive his opponent to the mat and work him. However, if Mendes has trouble getting Aldo to the ground he will face the crippling leg kicks, lightning quick punches and unpredictable knees that can end his night in a split second.

Aldo has not been finishing his opponents as of late, and I wonder if that may be due to his body quitting on him and gassing out due to too extreme of a weight cut. There have been rumors that Aldo has had repeated problems making the limit for recent bouts.

Whether the champion is 100 percent for this fight or not, Chad Mendes will be in for the fight of his life. Saturday night, January 12, 2012 will truly be crunch time for "Money" Mendes.