UFC 142 Fight Card: Aldo vs. Mendes Is Easily Most Intriguing Fight of the Night

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJanuary 14, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 01:  Mixed martial artists Chad Mendes (L) and Joseph Benavidez arrive 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

Tonight's featherweight championship bout between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes in Rio is sure to have tons of excitement. That's why it's the main event. 

But as rich as it is in excitement, it's a billionaire in intrigue. 

I can't remember a fight in recent memory that has been so clear-cut and yet so up in the air at the same time. 

In fact, I wasn't even sure that was possible. 

What each fighter has to do to win is painfully simple. 

If Aldo wants to hold on to his championship, he's going to have to stay on his feet against Mendes. He'll have to deliver a KO, but that's not really asking too much of the Brazilian.

In 21 total fights, "Scarface" has knocked out 12 of his opponents. His last two wins have come via decision, so you have to think a KO is coming. And soon.

One of his most effective knock-out blows comes from below the waist via a powerful kick or a devastating knee. 

But, yes, therein lies the eventual problem.

Once Aldo leaves his feet, he becomes incredibly susceptible for a takedown. And a takedown is exactly what Chad Mendes wants. 

Mendes is a former Division I All-American and Pac-10 wrestler. If he can get this fight to the ground, it's over for Aldo.

No question about it.

And the painful simpleness of this championship fight is what makes it far more intriguing than anything else that will be happening in Rio tonight (inside a cage, at least). 

It's full of "ifs."

If Aldo stays on his feet, he wins. If Mendes can plant Aldo to the ground, he wins. If, if, if. 

And as the saying goes, they are all "big ifs." 

Everyone knows what has to happen for their favorite fighter to come out on top. But no one knows what will happen. 

This bout is so easy to predict and so difficult to predict at the same time. 

These guys may be (literally) half the size of Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem, but the amount of intrigue is far from small. 


Preliminary Card (Facebook)

Featherweight: Felipe Arantes vs. Antonio Carvalho


Preliminary Card (FX)

Welterweight: Ricardo Funch vs. Mike Pyle

Featherweight: Yuri Alcantara vs. Michihiro Omigawa

Heavyweight: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ednaldo Oliveira

Lightweight: Thiago Tavares vs. Sam Stout


Main Card (PPV)

Lightweight: Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim

Welterweight: Erick Silva vs. Carlo Prater

Middleweight: Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Massenzio

Catchweight (197 lb): Victor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson

Featherweight: Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes


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