Fight Picks – UFC 179: Aldo vs Mendes II


After a three week break, the UFC returns this weekend with the featherweight title on the line. Rio de Janeiro plays host to UFC 179 and the return of Jose Aldo after eight months out with a whole host of his countrymen in support. Check out my picks for the event as well as my bonus predictions and bet of the week.

Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes

In the main event on Saturday night it’s team alpha-male’s Chad Mendes who faces long-time featherweight champion Jose Aldo in a hotly anticipated rematch. In the first fight, Aldo knocked Mendes out cold with a well timed knee from the clinch late in the first round following an unpunished caged grab from the champion moments before. Since then, both men have gone unbeaten with Mendes showing some serious improvements in his game while being the much more active of the two. Having worked with Duane “Bang” Ludwig, it’s the striking of Mendes which has come on the most although, against Aldo, it will be the first real test of the improvements fighting an opponent which he wasn’t expected to easily dispose of.

Aldo won’t have much to hide in that he will come out with his elite Thai boxing attacks, devastating leg kicks and superb defensive wrestling. For Mendes to have success, he will need to get inside, land his powers strikes, avoid those game-changing leg kicks and drag the fight to the floor – something which he failed to do despite repeated efforts in the first meeting. The Brazilian, though, is a master of controlling the pace and location of the fight with his footwork a huge defensive asset for avoiding both the strikes and takedowns. Although he hasn’t lost in recent times, flaws have shown up lately in Aldo’s game. His low output of strikes has seen his finishing rate fall and made some of his fights closer than he would have liked, while his cardio has also been a constant issue leading fighters to try to drag him late into a fight – something which Mendes has admitted is a tactic. With all that said, I’m not sure that Mendes is the man to beat Aldo. The American is strong for the division but not tall or long though to outmaneuver the Brazilian. I feel Aldo will be faster and bigger yet nimble enough to avoid Mendes’ strongest weapons. I fancy Mendes to take a round or maybe two, but not three.

Prediction – Aldo via TKO

Glover Texeira vs. Phil Davis

In the co-main event, two of the top light-heavyweights in the world will be looking to get back on track. Phil Davis, who was comprehensively beaten by Anthony Johnson last time out, will be dead set on keeping himself in the title picture when he takes on the last challenger to Jon Jones’ title, Glover Texeira.

Davis is the longer, more athletic fighter and is a highly decorated wrestler who has developed a tight technical kickboxing game which utilizes his size advantage. Texeira, on the other hand, is all about getting inside on the feet, landing with power strikes and dominating in top position should the fight hit the deck – something which Davis has had problems with in the past. The Brazilian showed how good his takedown defence is against Jon Jones so this will likely come down to what happens on the feet with the battle for inside and outside territory all important. Davis is a progressive fighter who seems to learn and evolve from his defeats. Texeira is a similar type of fighter to Anthony Johnson so we’ll know immediately if the holes have been fixed. Texeira, though, has been suffering from a shoulder injury before this fight which will surely effect his power. I’m leaning more towards a Davis decision here – but it could really go either way.

Prediction – Davis via decision

The third fight on a particularly top-heavy card sees hometown hero Fabio Maldonado take on Dutch scrapper Hans Stringer. Following an extremely short stint at heavyweight after being crushed by Stipe Miocic, Maldonado will be also looking to get back on track here in the 205 lbs division on Saturday night. Stringer, though, won’t be an easy task.

The Dutchman is a well rounded mixed martial artist with eight submissions and nine knockouts in his thirty fight career to date. Maldonado, conversely, is a former professional boxer and concentrates his attack primarily around the sweet science. As someone who prides himself on the amount of damage he can walk through, getting knocked out by Stipe Miocic can’t have helped the strike absorption ability of Maldonado. Even though Stringer isn’t the most gifted power striker, he will have worked with his Blackzilian team to pick out the flaws shown in his previous fights which allow Maldonado to get hit at will. If his chin isn’t what it used to be, it could be another short night. I think Maldonado’s defensive frailties will play a big part in the upset here.

Prediction – Stringer via TKO


Darren Elkins vs. Lucas Martins – Elkins via decision

Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Beneil Dariush – Ferreira via submission

William Macario vs. Neil Magny – Magny via decision

Yan Cabral vs. Naoyuki Kotani – Cabral via submission

Scott Jorgensen vs. Wilson Reis – Reis via submission

Felipe Arantes vs. Andre Fili – Fili via decision

Gilbert Burns vs. Christos Giagos – Burns via knockout

Fabrício Camões vs. Tony Martin – Camões via decision


Fight of the Night – Reis vs. Jorgensen

Performance of the Night – Aldo and Stringer


My bet of the week is a double of Phil Davis and Hans Stringer which works out at just over 5/1

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook

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