Jose Aldo has one more challenge left before he makes a move to lightweight. The UFC yesterday announced that UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will take on Chad Mendes in the main event of UFC 176, which takes place August 2 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. This is a rematch of the pair’s first bout at UFC 142, which Aldo won via first-round knockout. Although Aldo has already defeated Mendes in brutal fashion, I believe that “Money” has earned a rematch with five-straight wins since then and I actually believe this second fight between the pair is a lot more compelling than the first fight because of the added threat of Mendes’ striking this time around. When the pair first met, Mendes was essentially a wrestler with some jiu-jitsu skills. But after getting KOed by Aldo, his striking has improved immensely and he has four T/KO wins in his last five outings. With that added threat of a knockout, it will be interesting to see how Aldo deals with “Money” this time around, and that’s what makes this fight so intriguing to me. As far as the line goes, Aldo will be favored here but it won’t be by a crazy amount. I’m thinking he opens somewhere in the -250 to -300 range, but we’ll have to wait and see. Ildemar Alcantara vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio, UFC 175 A welterweight bout between Ildemar Alcantara and Santiago Ponzinibbio was added to UFC 175. This is a strange matchup as Alcantara is coming off of a win and Ponzinibbio a loss, but clearly UFC matchmaker Joe Silva sees something intriguing about pairing these two up and I’m curious now to see it go down. In my mind this is a very competitive bout that could go either way, but with his length advantage I have to lean slightly towards Alcantara, who has an iron chin. That’s not to say Ponzinibbio can’t pull it off — he definitely has all the tools to do so — but I believe Alcantara is a slightly-better fighter at this point in time and I have to slightly lean towards him here in a fight that I believe is close to a Pick ’em. Rick Story vs. John Howard, UFC Fight Night 45 A welterweight bout between Rick Story and John Howard is the latest addition to UFC Fight Night 45, which takes place this July in Atlantic City, NJ. It’s a solid matchup between two underrated 170ers coming off of close losses in their last respective bouts and I’m really looking forward to this one. This is a very close fight on paper but I have to lean slightly towards Story in this one, as I believe he has a bit of a more well-rounded game than Howard. However, “Doomsday” is certainly a solid welterweight himself and should make this a very competitive bout. Look for a close line in this one but with a slight lean to Story, perhaps around -140 to +100 for Howard. John Lineker vs. Alp Ozkilic, UFC Fight Night 45 And finally, a flyweight bout between John Lineker and Alp Ozkiliz has also been added to UFC Fight Night 45. It’s a solid fight between two stocky flyweights with a lot of knockout power and it should be a fun one when it goes down. If there’s any lesson to take from this matchmaking, it’s that if you miss weight the UFC will punish you, as Lineker went from a title eliminator matchup at UFC 169 against Ali Bagautinov to a fight against one of the lowest-ranked flyweights in Ozkilic, a solid fighter but definitely not an elite name in the division by any means. Look for Lineker to open as the favorite here, probably around 2-to-1 and possibly a bit higher.