UFC 179 Fight Breakdown: Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes

chad-mendes-jose-aldo The main event of UFC 179 is a five-round title fight rematch between UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and No. 1 contender Chad Mendes. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Aldo is a -230 favorite (bet $230 to win $100) while Mendes is a +190 underdog (bet $100 to win $190). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened up Aldo at -190 and Mendes at +150, and overall the betting action has mostly come in on Aldo. This is a tricky fight to call but I slightly lean towards Aldo to get the win and once again defend the UFC featherweight title. Here’s why. Aldo (24-1) is the UFC featherweight champion and one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. The 28-year-old Brazilian is riding a 17-fight win streak and hasn’t lost since 2005 despite fighting the best fighters in his weight class on a regular basis. he is 6-0 in the UFC with wins over Mendes, Ricardo Lamas, Chan Sung Jung, Frankie Edgar, Kenny Florian and Mark Hominick and he also has wins over the likes of Cub Swanson, Manny Gamburyan, Mike Brown and Urijah Faber from his reign in the WEC. Aldo is a world-class athlete and one of the best overall MMA fighters as far as technique and skillset goes. He has absolutely wicked muay Thai technique to go along with true knockout power (14 career T/KOs), his wrestling is fantastic both offensively and defensively, and he’s also a BJJ black belt on the ground. His cardio is the only real flaw he has as we’ve seen him gas multiple times in his fights in the past, but keep in mind Aldo is consistently going 25 minutes against the top guys in the world and, as of yet, his gas tank hasn’t cost him. There have been some who have questioned Aldo’s motivation and commitment to the sport, but I am not one of them. I think he’s one of the best in the world, and I think he’ll prove it once again on Saturday night when he fights Mendes, the same man he KOed in brutal fashion back at UFC 142. Mendes (16-1) is the No. 1 featherweight contender. The 29-year-old American is 7-1 in the UFC with wins over Nik Lentz, Clay Guida, Darren Elkins, Yaotzin Meza, Cody McKenzie, Rani Yahya and Michihiro Omigawa with his lone loss coming to Aldo. he is primarily a top-control wrestler but in recent fights has shown an improved standup attack, winning four of his last five fights by knockout to earn a rematch with Aldo. Mendes has looked amazing as of late, and he is a trendy pick for the upset because of his combination of strong wrestling and improved striking. However, keep in mind that while Mendes has fought tough fighters, they are no where near the level of guy Aldo has been fighting, so while Mendes has been getting TKOs and Aldo hasn’t, I think the level of opposition has to be kept in mind. Mendes has to either knock Aldo out or use his wrestling to grind on the champ in order to win this fight. It won’t be easy, but it’s possible he can pull off the upset if he implements his gameplan perfectly. There was some controversy regarding Aldo grabbing the fence during a Mendes takedown attempt in their first fight and that’s something to keep in mind for sure, but overall Aldo just seems like a bad matchup for Mendes and that’s why the challenger is the underdog this weekend in Brazil. I have been extremely impressed by Mendes since the loss to Aldo in 2012 and truly believe he is the second-best featherweight in the world. He might even be the best, and we’ll find out on Saturday night, but I can’t bank on it. While Aldo may have hit a plateau in his development as a fighter, and while Mendes has improved to a great degree, I still feel like Aldo has his number. Mendes’ best chance to win is either going to be by knockout or by wearing Aldo down with his wrestling, and neither of those scenarios is likely (though not impossible) against Aldo. The champ has tremendous takedown defence and should be able to keep this fight on the feet, and on the feet he throws a more varied attack than Mendes does, and he has the same, if not more power than the challenger. Defensively, Aldo is also extremely difficult to hit and it will be tough for Mendes to land on him, although the challenger’s improvements in his striking and knockout power definitely make this matchup more interesting this time around. If Aldo cannot get a knockout in the first few rounds and if Mendes is able to survive, he will have a chance to win late when Aldo begins to fatigue (see the Aldo/Hominick fight). I wouldn’t be shocked if that happened, but I think what’s more likely is that Aldo finishes this fight by knockout in the early rounds. I expect the majority of this fight to take place on the feet, and we’ve already seen Aldo knock Mendes out before and I have no doubt he can do it again. People have criticized Aldo for not finishing fights as of late but I think fighting in Brazil against a rival he will be very fired up. With all that being said, I’m not sure if there is value on Aldo at -230 just because you have to give Mendes a lot of respect for what he’s did as of late. Maybe Aldo goes out there and smokes Mendes in the first round again, but at a line of more than 2-to-1 on him, I’m not sure if it’s worth the risk.

Written by Adam Martin.

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