They may need to check the right hand of Chad Mendes for radioactive qualities.
Mendes disposed of Ricardo Lamas with first-round punches in the UFC Fight Night “Mendes vs. Lamas” main event on Saturday at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., as he reaffirmed his place as the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s No. 2 featherweight behind Jose Aldo. The Team Alpha Male standout clocked out on another productive day’s work 2:45 into round one.
A clubbing right hand to the top of the head marked the beginning of the end for Lamas. The blow wobbled the Chicago native and left him vulnerable to follow-up attacks. Two more knockdowns followed, as Mendes pursued him with punches -- he even mixed in a knee -- before bringing it to a close with unanswered blows on the ground. Lamas had not been finished since Iuri Alcantara did the honors more than four years ago.
In wake of UFC Fight Night “Mendes vs. Lamas,” here are six matchups that ought to be made:
Related » By the Numbers: UFC Fairfax
Chad Mendes vs. Frankie Edgar: Apart from beating the aforementioned Aldo, Mendes has little left to prove at 145 pounds. The 29-year-old Hanford, Calif., has paired an All-American wrestling pedigree with still-evolving standup to become one of the division’s most potent offensive fighters. Since touching down in the UFC in 2011, Mendes has scored first-round knockouts on Lamas, Clay Guida, Darren Elkins, Yaotzin Meza and Cody McKenzie, shedding the “boring wrestler” label he once carried. Should Edgar defeat Urijah Faber in their UFC Fight Night headliner on May 16 in the Philippines, a title eliminator between “The Answer” and Mendes would make a lot of sense.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Conor McGregor: Lamas was just beginning to assert himself when disaster struck in the form of a Mendes right hand to the top of the head. “The Bully” never recovered, ultimately succumbing to punches a little less than three minutes into the first round. Lamas, 32, has now come up short against the top two fighters in the featherweight division, leading one to wonder if he might have already hit his ceiling at 145 pounds. McGregor will challenge Aldo for the 145-pound title. If he fails in his bid to unseat the Brazilian, built-in heat exists between him and Lamas.
Al Iaquinta vs. Dustin Poirier: Serra-Longo Fight Team’s Iaquinta benefitted from generous judging in his co-headliner with Jorge Masvidal. Clearly the superior fighter at the start, Masvidal floored “The Ultimate Fighter 15” finalist and opened a nasty gash beneath his right eye in the first round. While Iaquinta became more and more effective as the fight dragged on, Masvidal continued to outwork him on the feet. Per FightMetric, the American Top Team vet out-landed Iaquinta in both the significant strike and total strike departments in all three rounds; he also denied all nine of the New Yorker’s takedown attempts. Poirier made a triumphant return to the lightweight division with a first-round technical knockout on Carlos Diego Ferreira.
Michael Chiesa vs. Leonardo Santos: Chiesa overwhelmed Mitch Clarke with constant offense, as he wore down the MMA Lab export with takedowns and submission attempts en route to a unanimous decision. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 winner has rattled off three wins across his past four outings, a cut-induced stoppage loss to Joe Lauzon the lone hiccup. Nova Uniao’s Santos extended his unbeaten streak to nine fights (8-0-1) at UFC Fight Night “Maia vs. LaFlare” on March 21, as he submitted Tony Martin with a second-round rear-naked choke. He has not lost in almost five years.
Julianna Pena vs. Germaine de Randamie: Pena returned from reconstructive knee surgery and did not skip a beat. In her first appearance since winning Season 18 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series in November 2013, “The Venezuelan Vixen” stopped Milana Dudieva with first-round punches and elbows from the mount. Pena scrambled to her feet in response to a takedown, dumped the Russian to the mat, advanced to mount and let loose with her ground-and-pound, burying Dudieva with unanswered strikes. De Randamie took care of former Jungle Fight champion Larissa Pacheco with punches in the second round of their UFC 185 encounter on March 14.
Clay Guida vs. Hacran Dias: The still-relevant Guida did what he does best in snagging a unanimous decision from Robbie Peralta. “The Carpenter” relied on a persistent clinch, repeated takedowns and an active submission game, as he improved to 3-2 since downshifting to 145 pounds. Guida withstood a few punching bursts from Peralta and a cut near his left eye to impose his will on the Tristar Gym representative. Nova Uniao’s Dias halted a two-fight losing streak at UFC Fight Night “Machida vs. Dollaway” in December, when he captured a three-round unanimous decision from Darren Elkins in his native Brazil.