UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo squares off against number-one contender Chad Mendes for the second time this Saturday, October 25 (10 P.M. EST, Pay Per View), at UFC 179. And when the cage doors close at the Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro, nearly three years of controversy and bad blood will be settled.
Aldo (24-1, 6-0 UFC) and Mendes (16-1, 7-1 UFC) met for the first time at UFC 148 in January 2012, with the champion handing the challenger his only loss with a stunning knee to the face late in the first round. But it was a contentious outcome, as Mendes controlled the majority of the contest, with Aldo landing his knockout blow after avoiding a takedown by grabbing the cage fence.
The grab became an instant source of debate; however, the result was never questioned.
Now some 34 months later, the pair are set to collide in a second installment, and all eyes will be watching to see if Mendes can unseat the UFC’s longest reigning champion.
Undefeated since 2005, Jose Aldo is a dynamic striker out of Rio’s Nova Uniao camp, known for his powerful leg kicks. Aldo has risen to the top of the mixed martial arts world on account of his evasive style, tactical genius, and pinpoint accuracy, but if there is any weakness in his game, it is his tendency to fatigue in the later rounds, perhaps on account of his tremendous weight cut.
For Mendes, who fights out of Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male, his strength lies in his wrestling and punching power, which has blossomed during his current five-fight winning streak. Mendes also brings a tenacious and relentless pace to the Octagon, but having only faced one top-ten opponent (other than Aldo) during his UFC run, questions remain about the quality of his recent victories.
Regardless, expect Mendes to come out fast and look to get in close on Aldo and hunt for a takedown, while the champion pressures with his signature leg kicks and punches. The pace will continue throughout the early rounds, but Mendes’ aggression will be his undoing, as Aldo lands leg blows, taking away the speed of the challenger.
And while Mendes will show a remarkable improvement in his cage savvy and game planning, look for Aldo to retain his title via unanimous decision.