This weekend, the UFC returns to Brazil for some featherweight championship action and a host of other competitive fights on Saturday, January 14 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Fighting for the featherweight belt we’ve got current champ, José Aldo, putting his belt on the line against undefeated 11-0 Chad “Money” Mendes. This will be a clash of opposing styles, with Aldo bringing his phenomenal striking against Mendes’ superior wrestling background.
First off, streamed live on Facebook, watch Brazilian newcomer Felipe Arantes take on Canadian newcomer Antonio Carvalho in a featherweight match-up.
On the preliminary card, live on FX, we’ll see Gabriel Gonzaga returning for the first time since his release from the UFC in October of 2010 following a loss to Brendan Schaub. He’ll be facing Brazilian heavyweight Ednaldo Oliveira, who makes his octagon debut in the UFC. We’ll also see slugger Sam Stout vs. Thiago Tavares, Mike Pyle vs replacement Ricardo Funch, and Yuri Alcantara vs Michihiro Omigawa.
The pay-per-view card includes:
Edson Barboza vs Terry Etim (Lightweight bout)
Erick Silva vs Carlo Prater (Welterweight bout)
Rousimar Palhares vs Mike Massenzio (Middleweight bout)
Vitor Belfort vs Anthony Johnson (Middleweight bout)
José Aldo vs Chad Mendes (Featherweight bout)
This card will definitely bring action, but it isn’t the most exciting card around. Taking a look at the preliminary card, I think Sam Stout vs Thiago Tavares should be good. Stout will try to impose his will on the feet, while Tavares will try to utilize his strong Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) background to earn a submission victory. Terry Etim vs. Edson Barboza is another solid fight. I think with a win over Etim, Barboza should solidify his spot “in the mix” for the lightweight title. Maybe Gonzaga strikes back with a vengeance in his return? Doubtful, but I’ll be interested to see what happens.
I think the most action-packed fight on the card will definitely be Belfort vs. Johnson, two sluggers who like to stand in the middle of the octagon and go toe-to-toe. Johnson will be making his Middleweight début fighting at a much more comfortable weight so his conditioning should be great. This has “Fight of the Night” written all over it.
Last minute update–Johnson shows up 11 POUNDS overweight for weigh-ins! Supposedly he’s ill, but that’s unacceptable. Dana White, president of the UFC, has already publicly stated that win or lose, Johnson’s job is on the line.
With that in mind, I think Johnson is going to be in the wrong place mentally. Belfort for the win.
Aldo vs Mendes? Ehh, could bring fireworks. The only way this could happen is if Mendes decides to get stubborn and try to beat Aldo at his own game by striking with him the entire time, but I don’t see that happening.
Aldo brings a strong Muay Thai background with a black belt in BJJ under the Nogueira Brothers, so he won’t be in foreign territory when the fight goes to the ground.
We saw in the Hominick vs Aldo fight how Hominick was able to score some key takedowns throughout the fight but Aldo was able to recover.
In all of Mendes’ fights we see a little striking until he shoots, and the rest of the fight is on the mat. He’s gotten a lot of criticism for being a boring “lay-and-pray” fighter in the many decision victories he’s scored so we’ll see if he puts an end to that Saturday night.
Taking all this into consideration, here are my predictions for the Main Card:
Edson Barboza def. Terry Etim via TKO (punches) Round 2.
Erick Silva def. Carlo Prater via Unanimous Decision.
Rousimar Palhares def. Mike Massenzio via Unanimous Decision.
Vitor Belfort def. Anthony Johnson via TKO (punches) Round 1.
Jose Aldo def. Chad Mendes via Submission (guillotine or triangle) Round 4.
For my hardcore MMA fans out there, look for some great technical matchups between some talented, seasoned fighters. For those looking for crazy knockouts and wild endings, don’t hold your breath.
Until next time, thanks for visiting and stay tuned for my next weekly post on DailyGrindSports.com
Also in the next week, be on the look out for my own official MMA site! Still under construction, will be available soon!
Aldo by sub? What makes us think Aldo is better than Mendes off the back? Also, Mendes comes from the Alpha Male team. If any team has any single move down, it’s Alpha Male and their guillotines. With Mendes’ cardio, if he can take Aldo down and keep him there he will win. Getting choked out is a ballsy and admirable pick, but also pretty silly. Hominick had no problem being on top of Aldo in their fight and is not even close to what Mendes brings in grappling.
That said, Aldo by decision. Maybe TKO. But sub is laughable.
Appreciate the feedback Jack, you make a good point. Definitely a ballsy pick, but the way I see it, we’re looking at a fight where Mendes has Aldo pinned to the mat the majority of the time. I have a feeling Aldo has been restlessly drilling his BJJ knowing that the inevitable takedown is coming and there’s nothing he’ll be able to do to stop it. Point being is this: I get that Aldo doesn’t win fights by sub, he’s a decision or KO/TKO kind of guy, but with a guy like Mendes who has the ability to hold you on the mat round after round, I feel Aldo will be working a lot of submissions and just may pull something slick off (sort of like Silva vs Sonnen, even though Mendes isn’t nearly as prone to getting subbed as Sonnen is.)
I probably wouldn’t go to Vegas with my prediction on Mendes vs Aldo, but I think a surprise sub is going to catch Mendes by surprise. Guess we’ll find out tomorrow!
Also, early next week I’ll be releasing my own official MMA website/blog covering all the latest and coolest news in MMA. I’ll release more information on the site here on DailyGrind once it launches next week. Follow me on Twitter @MMAInformant in the meantime.
Take it easy,
Hey Jack, we’re finally live…check out the site!
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