Saturday, January 14, 2012

UFC 142 preview: Aldo vs. Mendes

The UFC is opening the year in a BIG way in 2012 by going back to Brazil for UFC 142.

The World Featherweight Championship will be on the line, as champion Jose Aldo (20-1, 12 KO, 2 Sub) gets to defend his belt against Chad Mendes (11-0, 2 KO, 2 Sub).

As you can probably tell from the records, this is a battle of a finisher and a non-finisher. Aldo is recognized for his spectacular knockouts, such as his double-knee KO in the first 10 seconds of a WEC bout. Actually, this video sums it up better:

Opposing the Muai Thai and striking skills of Aldo is the wrestler Mendes. Mendes finished three of the first four fights of his career, but since joining WEC and UFC he has only finished one fight.

Most of his wins could pretty much be defined as "lay-and-pray" and as such, you can pretty much assume how I feel about that manner of winning fights. That said, he is really effective at it, is one of the few guys at 145 lbs. to be so, and he knows that because of his dull style he may not get a second chance at this belt.

I don't doubt Mendes' skills, but he is rather limited in the other areas of MMA. Couple that with the fact that Aldo is the native child and will have all of Brazil behind him, and you have to pick the champ to retain.

I'll take Aldo by 1st-round KO in this one.

197 lb. Catchweight fight: Vitor Belfort v. Anthony Johnson

This was a middleweight bout. Actually, it was Johnson's middleweight debut because he was struggling to make the welterweight limit.

Clearly, it's not the limit's fault. Johnson came in 11 pounds over the maximum allotment, and if he comes in today at more than 205 lbs. the fight will be canceled.

In any case, this indicates that something is wrong with Johnson. Dana White has already said Johnson is out with a loss, and I think that will be the case.

Vitor has looked really strong in his fights that don't involve Anderson Silva, and I firmly expect him to win by 1st-round submission if the fight happens at all.

I'll actually pick this whole event this go-around. Since this is the first card on the UFC-Fox deal, all but one of the fights are being televised, so I'll celebrate by putting picks on all 10 fights.

Middleweights: Rousimar Palhares v. Mike Massenzio - This will turn into a stand-up fight since both will respect the ground game. I'll take Massenzio by decision.

Welterweights: Erick Silva v. Carlo Prater - This is the lone clash of Brazilians on the main card. Prater is a replacement making his UFC debut, but is on a win streak. That said, Silva has a longer unbeaten streak and shouldn't be as stressed as to the atmosphere. I'll take Silva by 2nd-rd Submission.

Lightweights: Edson Barboza v. Terry Etim - Barboza is the more complete fighter and the home-town boy. He will remain undefeated and win by decision.

Undercard on FX

Lightweights: Thiago Tavares v. Sam Stout - Tavares by submission (1st)
Heavyweights: Gabriel Gonzaga v. Edinaldo Oliveira - Oliveira by decision
Featherweights: Yuri Alcantara v. Michihiro Omigawa - Alcantara by decision
Welterweights: Ricardo Funch v. Mike Pyle - Pyle by KO (1st)

Undercard on Facebook

Featherweights: Felipe Arantes v. Antonio Carvalho - Carvalho by KO (2nd)

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