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UFC RIO: Aldo vs. Mendes

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Jose "Junior" Aldo (-240) vs Chad "Money" Mendes (+200)

by Stan Leung
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UFC RIO: Aldo vs. Mendes
January 14, 2012
Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes
UFC Betting Pick: Jose Aldo (-240)

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Featherweight Title Fight: Jose Aldo (-240) vs Chad Mendes (+200)

If you were to ask me, I believe  Jose “Junior” Aldo (20-1) is currently one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. He will be fighting in front of his home crowd in Brazil at UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes and will be looking to put on a show. He will be squaring off against a Team Alpha Male fighter in Chad “Money” Mendes (11-0).

Chad Medes is a very good fighter, and like all Team Alpha Male combatants, is smaller in stature but an accomplished high school and NCAA level wrestler who has been able to translate his game to mixed martial arts.  He had rudimentary skills in other areas, but has improved his standup enough to become a viable force, however, Aldo is not to be taken lightly when it comes to striking.

A pair of five-round victories over Mark Hominick and Kenny Florian might appear to be surprising to those not familiar with Aldo, however, he is the real deal and will definitely come out on top at this one.  Aldo is fearsome in the standup and likes to stand in the pocket to punish his foes with powerful kicks and counter with his lighting fast hands and knees. The speed and accuracy of his strikes is the best at 145 pounds and his ability to maintain distance allows him to control the stand up.

Though Mendes put on a good show against Rani Yahya at UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz, with leg kicks, body punches and a flying knee, he will not be able to do the same against Aldo. Mendes may be faster but he is less technical and less accurate in the stand up. He is a small fighter with short limbs and given Aldo’s ability to control, Mendes will not be able to reach him.

When it comes to wrestling however, this is a different story as this is the one skill set Aldo lacks. To capitalize on his strength and Aldo’s weakness, perhaps Mendes’ best chance is to tire Aldo with takedowns and to go for the ground-and-pound, however, given Aldo’s precision striking, this plan may seem more plausible on the drawing board. Mendes is also the smaller of the two so he will have difficulty in holding Aldo down.

Mendes finished eighth in the state of California as a sophomore at 103 lbs in 2001, fifth as a junior at 112 lbs in 2002, and third as a senior at 119 lbs in 2003 which led him to being named a Cadet All-American. From there he wrestled at Cal Poly where he finished his career with an overall record of 64-14. As a senior, Mendes finished the year with a 30-1 and was the Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year and received All-American honors in 2006.

Though Mendes may get the takedown points, Aldo is a high level grappler. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Nova União, perhaps the best BJJ club in the world today, Aldo has the definite advantage when it comes to grappling. Though he can grapple, it is unlikely he will be able to submit Aldo in this one.

Bottom Line: For Mendes to win this fight he has to take down Aldo and hold him down. If Urijah Faber had difficulty closing the distance against Aldo in their fight, it is hard to imagine that his teammate will have more success. Fighting in his homeland will give Aldo added incentive to put on a show and deliver the finish that has been lacking in his two UFC appearances to date.

When it comes to UFC betting the UFC odds opened up with Aldo being a -400 betting favorite. As the fight draws closer more and more betting action has been on Mendes for an upset. By fight time the lines should be -200 in favor of Aldo—though not the best odds but still much better than -400.  To capitalize on the best odds for this one I would wait until the very last minute before any coin is laid on Aldo.

The over/under is over four and a half rounds for -185 and I think this is a great bet to make. Mendes is a tough and game fighter and will be able to take the punishment.

In addition to the money line bet I would also bet on the over under for this fight to go the distance or past the four and a half round mark.  As Mendes’ takedown shots become less crisp, Aldo will capitalize for a technical knockout late in the forth round.

Look for a Late 4th Round TKO Victory by Jose Aldo

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