UFC 133 Results: Chad Mendes Should Hope for Not Aldo, but Kenny Florian Next
To nobody's shock or surprise, Chad Mendes dominated Rani Yahya for three rounds in a fight that even Dana White admitted would have Mendes in line for a crack at the winner of the Jose Aldo-Kenny Florian bout at UFC 136—if Mendes hadn't looked as though he broke his hand.
No good ever comes of a broken hand, and if Mendes really did break it, he could be facing some surgery and some time off.
Looking at the skill-set of Mendes, it wouldn't matter either way because broken hand or no broken hand, it's Kenny Florian Mendes should be hoping for.
Yes, I've heard it all before.
Aldo is a striker with fast hands, and in the featherweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship world, his Muay Thai reigns with Godzilla's iron fist.
Mendes, on the other hand, is a wrestler, and it's one of the styles many pundits and patrons of MMA point to when they talk about a style that beats Muay Thai any day of the week.
Of course, we've heard it all before—we said the exact same thing when Urijah Faber had his turn to fight Aldo.
Who has a better shot of defeating Jose Aldo?
The only difference is that we knew Faber actually could finish Aldo if he felt willing to take the fight to the ground, which he didn't.
Mendes knows that Aldo knows that Mark Hominick did well enough to make him guzzle down some of his gas at UFC 129,—hence the five minutes of a lack of takedown defense—so Aldo is upgrading his current artillery and replacing his gas tank with something that will make Florian consider quitting on the stool in Houston.
If he's able to neutralize Florian's best attempts at getting the fight to the ground, maybe Mendes will do what Faber did and trust his own stand-up against Aldo's.
But regardless of what he chooses to do, will any of it be as effective as we would like to think if Aldo does beat Florian?
Mendes' best hope—besides having a bruised hand instead of a broken one, ala Brian Bowles—is for Florian's jiu-jitsu and his boxing to prevail against the more fast-paced, aggressive stand-up of Aldo.
Florian's had two problems in the past: drawing BJ Penn and facing elite wrestlers, which Mendes is.
Truth be told, Mendes has everything it takes to neutralize Florian's ground game and plead a convincing case for winning the featherweight title.
If Mendes honestly thinks he's getting by Aldo, even with his outstanding wrestling expertise, then he might as well contemplate a drop to bantamweight or a jump to lightweight. His wrestling may give Aldo a few problems, but it won't be enough to shut Aldo down for 25 minutes.
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