Pros Pick: Aldo vs. Mendes

By Mike Sloan Jan 12, 2012
The unbeaten Chad Mendes has his work cut out for him at UFC 142. | Photo: Dave Mandel

Stacked with Brazilian fighters, UFC 142 “Aldo vs. Mendes” on Saturday at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be headlined by a five-round title bout matching reigning featherweight king and pound-for-pound luminary Jose Aldo with undefeated Team Alpha Male standout Chad Mendes.

Aldo, 25, will enter the cage on a 13-fight winning streak, which dates back to his submission loss to Luciano Azevedo in November 2005. The Nova Uniao representative last fought in October, when he turned away Kenny Florian by unanimous decision at UFC 136. Mendes, meanwhile, has won all 11 of his professional bouts. The 26-year-old Californian has gone the distance six times in his last seven appearances. caught up with a number of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the UFC 142 main event:

Johny Hendricks: I pick Aldo. His standup is one of the best, and his wrestling defense is great, as well. I see him controlling the standup, and [he] might take Mendes down in the later rounds.

Benji Radach: Mendes has the tools to win, but I’ve got to pull for Aldo. I think his standup will be the key that wins this one. If Mendes can put enough pressure on him to squash his standup and have the cardio to go all five rounds, he could pull it off.

Joe Duarte: Mendes has two ways to win this fight: he can lay-and-pray for 25 minutes [or] he can wrap his thighs with layers of bubble wrap to survive those vicious leg kicks. I’m going with Aldo because he is one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration and 38 percent unicorn. Aldo wins by TKO in round four.

Ricardo Liborio: Aldo via TKO.

Gabe Ruediger: I’ve been on a pick losing streak. I’ve felt that wrestling would dictate a few fights, but I’m not [feeling that way] in this one. Mendes is a very talented wrestler and he has used his wrestling to shut down other people’s games, but I don’t think he can do that to Aldo. I do think Mendes will get Aldo down, but [he] won’t be able to bore Aldo into giving up his belt. Aldo wins in the late rounds.

Mike Ciesnolevicz: I think Mendes has a very good chance to win a decision by stalling and wrestling. However, I also think Aldo can win this fight in more ways, like submission or knockout. I will root for Aldo because I like seeing guys who try to finish fights. All of Mendes’ wins are pretty much decisions. To me, wrestling for a decision is a way of saying you don’t really want to fight [so you] stall and hope the judges pick you. Mendes has potential to be great if he balances out his game more, but Aldo is already great, so I will pick him by TKO.

Bart Palaszewski: Mendes [wins] in a five-rounder.

Kyle Kingsbury: Aldo [wins]. He’s a killer. He needs nothing witty to promote him.

Nam Phan: I gotta go with Mendes because he is the alpha male.

Travis Wiuff: Aldo wins by decision. Mendes is tough and will come prepared, but Aldo will be too much to handle in front of his home country and win a unanimous decision.

Ben Askren: I am picking Aldo despite Mendes’ clear advantage in wrestling. I think Aldo has too many weapons to be stopped.

Sean Pierson: I got Aldo in this by early stoppage or clear decision. I think if there is an early KO I will give it to Aldo. Mendes is super tough, so if he can avoid an early barrage, I see him going the distance but unable to take three rounds from Aldo in a very entertaining fight.

Yves Edwards: Man, that’s a tough one. I think three, maybe four guys, have a shot against Aldo. The two with the best chance are Mendes and [Dustin] Poirier. The two that need a few fights to get there are the kid that just won [“The Ultimate Fighter,” Diego Brandao] and [Dennis] Bermudez. I gotta go with the champ in this one, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Mendes grinded out a tough, close win.

Shane Roller: Mendes [wins]. I think he can take Aldo down and control him.

Zach Makovsky: Ah, the classic American wrestler-versus-Brazilian jiu-jitsu and muay Thai fighter [match]. I think Mendes poses the biggest style threat to Aldo. He has the ability to put Aldo on his back and make it a tough, ugly fight. That said, he will have to do it consistently over five rounds. I think Aldo is a little too sharp and will make Mendes force takedowns that aren’t there. I’ll take Aldo by TKO in the second or third round.

Pros Picking Aldo: 12
Pros Picking Mendes: 3

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