UFC 148: Saturday, July 7, 2012 MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada UFC Featherweight Contender Chad Mendes (-450) Profile: The most dominant featherweight wrestler in the UFC, Chad Mendes (11-1) is coming off his first career loss to UFC champion Jose Aldo earlier in the year for the title, but don’t expect that loss to change his game plan moving forward. The 27-year-old grappler will continue to look to grind his opponents into the ground, boasting an NCAA Division I wrestling background at Cal Poly and literally dominating every opponent put in front of him in his MMA career until Aldo. He has defeated a who’s who of the WEC, including Michihiro Omigawa, Cub Swanson, Javier Vazquez and current No. 1 contender Erik Koch. UFC Featherweight Contender Cody McKenzie (+300) Profile: Longtime lightweight fighter Cody McKenzie (13-2) has switched his training camp from Portland, Oregon to Stockton, California since competing on The Ultimate Fighter 12, so he can expand his game with the Cesar Gracie camp and the Diaz brothers. Even after starting off his career with 12 straight wins, including 12 finishes (with 10 of them coming via guillotine choke), the 24-year-old native of the Pacific Northwest wants to grow as a fighter following two straight losses in the UFC to Yves Edwards and Vagner Rocha that served as a wake-up call. Although McKenzie bounced back with a win at UFC on FUEL TV 3 less than two months ago, it was once again by guillotine choke, showing he sticks with what works but still must find a way to further develop his all-around skills in the future. He will be making his featherweight debut. Opening UFC 148 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Mendes a huge -450 favorite (bet $450 to win $100) while McKenzie opened as a +300 underdog (bet $100 to win $300) according to the MMA odds. This matchup at UFC 148 definitely favors Mendes since he is used to fighting in this division and more well-rounded. Both fighters have impressive records, but McKenzie has relied too heavily on his “McKenzietine” and got into big trouble in his last bout against Marcus LeVesseur before making him his latest victim. Mendes has experience against top-level opponents that McKenzie does not, and he should be able to use that to his advantage and avoid getting caught by a surprise submission.