UFC 189: McGregor vs. Mendes Date: July 11, 2015 Location: Las Vegas, Nevada Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena Broadcast: PPV UFC Featherweight Contender Chad Mendes One of the top featherweight fighters in the UFC, Chad Mendes (17-2) bounced back from his first career loss to UFC champion Jose Aldo at UFC 142 with a dominant first-round knockout win over Cody McKenzie at UFC 148. He didn’t stop there, however, as he took out Yaotzin Meza, Darren Elkins, Clay Guida and Nik Lentz in successive fights to earn a five-fight win streak as well as another crack at Aldo and his featherweight crown, ultimately losing a close five-round decision at UFC 179 in a 2014 Fight of the Year candidate. A powerful wrestler with improving standup and knockout power, Mendes is a beast and with his increased confidence in the striking department, he was able to go toe-to-toe with the champ for 25 minutes. Despite the loss to Aldo, though, Mendes remains one of the top 145lbers in the game, and after knocking out Ricardo Lamas at UFC Fight Night 69, he’s been given the chance to take on Conor McGregor for the interim title at UFC 189 in what should be an absolute war between two of the best featherweights in the world. UFC Featherweight Contender Conor McGregor A character who backs up his trash talking with vicious knockouts inside the cage, Conor McGregor (17-2) has taken the MMA world by storm and is a bonafide star now. After winning the 145lb and 155lb titles in Cage Warriors, McGregor was signed to the UFC and has since gone 5-0 with knockout wins over Dennis Siver, Dustin Poirier, Marcus Brimage and Diego Brandao and a decision win over Max Holloway. He has shown tremendous boxing skills in all of his fights, but he’s also shown some solid wrestling and it really does look like he’s a complete fighter. After talking his way into the top 10, McGregor finally fought a dance partner amongst the contenders in the form of Poirier, and he knocked him out in round one. He then followed it up with a huge win over Siver to earn a title shot against Jose Aldo at UFC 189. However, Aldo pulled out with injury and now McGregor takes on Chad Mendes for the interim belt in what should be a great fight between two elite featherweight fighters. Opening UFC 189 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Mendes a -130 favorite (bet $130 to win $100) while McGregor opened as a +100 underdog (bet $100 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers. This is a replacement main event after UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo pulled out with an injury, but it’s still a terrific fight. McGregor is one of the hottest fighters in the UFC and is entering this fight coming off of five-straight wins. Mendes, on the other hand, recently knocked out Ricardo Lamas to cement his place as one of the division’s elite. However, in his fight before that he lost to Aldo by decision and took a lot of damage. This is a tough fight to call. Mendes is an incredible fighter, but McGregor is truly special. Mendes gets the lean as a slight favorite heading into this one because of his title-fight experience, but McGregor is an absolute stud and don’t be surprised if he brings home the belt.