UFC 142: What Chad Mendes Can Learn from Urijah Faber's Mistakes vs. Jose Aldo

Christopher HuertaContributor IIIJanuary 13, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 01:  Mixed martial artist Chad Mendes arrives at the third annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2010 at the Palms Casino Resort December 1, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In the main event for UFC 142, two fighters with a combined featherweight record of 31-0 will finally face off. 

Current UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will face former NCAA D-1 national wrestling champion runner-up Chad Mendes with the challenger facing a huge step up in competition. 

However, Mendes has a great shoulder to lean on and get advice from in his Team Alpha Male leader Urijah Faber, a man who defended the belt five times before.  That advice is going to be key for Mendes, as he will need to learn from Faber's mistakes in order to bring home the belt.

Despite being 16 months older than Aldo, Mendes has 10 less fights under his belt with this fight also being his first main event of his career. 

Luckily for Mendes, he has one of the most experienced lighter weight fighters in the world in his training camp and ear every night. 

Faber started his career at 21-1 including going 11-0 in title fights before dropping four in a row. 

"The California Kid," more importantly, was defeated in dominant fashion in his last featherweight fight by Jose Aldo just 21 months ago while learning Aldo's number one weapon against wrestlers: his leg kicks. 

One of the most important things Chad can learn from Urijah is that he needs to take Aldo's kickboxing seriously, if he doesn't he will end up as bruised and hobbled as Faber did. 

Urijah also learned that Aldo cannot just be muscled to the ground; he is a crafty defensive wrestler but can be attacked with the right game plan. 

Overall, it is difficult to take much from Aldo-Faber because the champion thoroughly dominated the fight and was never challenged. 

What Mendes can truly learn from Faber is what the former champion has done since that defeat. 

With a 3-1 record in his last four fights, Faber has redefined himself as a fighter and learned from his mistakes. 

Several key points of his redesigned style can be translated to his title challenging teammate. 

Being patient, setting up takedowns, using both hands and throwing strikes to the body are just a few things that Faber has done better in his recent run that are going to be things that Mendes needs to incorporate in his game plan if he expects to win.

Against a fighter as skilled and talented as Jose Aldo, a great game plan is going to be key in finding a way to hand him his first defeat at featherweight. 

By being patient and not attacking early, Mendes can try and take advantage of Aldo's suspect gas tank. 

"Scarface" will be taking on the most accomplished and skilled takedown artist of his career, yet he will not need to worry if Mendes doesn't set up his takedowns. 

Aldo has the skill to keep the fighting standing if Mendes tries to just use his speed and skills much like Faber did earlier in his career. 

The most important lesson Chad Mendes can learn from Faber is how to use his striking and where to place his punches. 

Before Faber's last title defeat, his striking was limited to just a big right hand, with most of his strikes being headshots.  Since then, he has expanded his game, developing a left hand and throwing body blows with much more frequency. 

This will be key to defeat Aldo because it will not only make Aldo aware of both hands but also burn his stamina quickly.  Body blows are a great way to slow down an opponent and they will be that much more important against a fast fighter like Aldo.

If Chad Mendes wants to bring home the UFC gold from Brazil this Saturday, he will need to implement several of the lessons Urijah Faber learned from his nearly 20 title fights. 

It will be up to him to end the Team Alpha Male's current title fight losing streak.