Chad Mendes defeated Chad McKenzie 31 seconds into the first round of their UFC 148 featherweight bout. McKenzie wishes I had mishit my number key, but I didn't.
The quick defeat was as embarrassing for McKenzie as it was triumphant for Mendes. Mendes needed this victory to bounce back into featherweight title talks. McKenzie is now 13-3 after losing in his first fight as a featherweight fighter.
Mendes' knockout was initiated by a thunderous shot to McKenzie's solar plexus. Once he hit him the first time, he smelled blood in the water. He unleashed a furious frenzy upon McKenzie and forced the referee to stop the fight earlier than anyone anticipated.
This fight has obvious repercussions in the short-term for Mendes. A victory is always valuable, but it has a long-term impact as well.
Mendes is back in the title hunt. His last fight was a loss to Jose Aldo in the featherweight title. The loss knocked him out of contention, but this knockout leaves no doubt that he should be involved somewhere. He has explosive power, and McKenzie felt the full force of it Saturday night.
He's only 27 years old and highly skilled. He can fight any style, but striking is his strong suit. His ability to adapt to every style will make him a threat to win the title for a long time to come.
Mendes' chances at the featherweight championship took a blow when he lost to Aldo, but it's no longer relevant. If he had lost again Saturday night then it would have been much worse, but he didn't. He showed the ability to focus, rebound after a loss and overcome some adversity.
His loss to Aldo showed him it's a long road to the top, but his victory over McKenzie showed everyone else he will get there eventually. Championship-caliber fighters must be able to fight, persevere and win with their backs against the wall.
Mendes proved all three with his vicious victory Saturday evening.