UFC 142: Aldo Vs Mendes takes place tomorrow night in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and we’ve got our predictions for you below.
Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes
It’s almost certain that both men will play to their strengths in this featherweight title fight. Mendes striking has improved and he’s finally starting to look more comfortable engaging now, but in Aldo he’s facing a highly evolved striker who’s dangerous with all eight limbs and extremely fast so there’s no question he’ll come off second best in that regard.
Mendes will instead go back to his wrestling roots which served him very well during his stint in the WEC. Aldo has also shown signs of vulnerability in this regard, most notably when Mark Hominick was able to pin him to the mat and rain down ground and pound in the final round of their title fight. That was partly down to fatigue however, and Aldo will be far more spritely and difficult to get ahold of in the early rounds so Mendes will have to keep pushing the pace and look to capitalize in the later rounds.
It should be noted that Aldo is a talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player, so if he is faced with the prospect of having his back on the canvas for long periods of the fight then he’s not without weapons at his disposal. Mendes has shown in the past that he can stifle talented BJJ players with his top control though so I wouldn’t count on a submission coming here.
Mendes has shown no signs of being a finisher in his career to date, and it’s extremely dangerous to attempt to go the full five rounds with a deadly striker like Aldo. So, while I think ‘Money’ has the wrestling credentials to potentially play spoiler to Aldo’s party here, I still favor the Brazilian to get the job done inside the distance.
Jose Aldo to win by TKO in Rd3
Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson
The most explosive striking battle on the card occurs in the co-main event when two KO specialists, ‘The Phenom’ and ‘Rumble’ collide.
Fast hands, good technique and a knack of ending fights with his opponents face down on the canvas have been the hallmarks of Belfort’s career and in fact his last five victories in MMA competition have all come by way of clean KO.
Johnson is also an impressive knockout artist however, holding four KO’s in the UFC alone. He’s making his middleweight debut tomorrow night, but don’t expect him to be undersized as he’s always been known to be a huge welterweight, and in fact he’ll enjoy a two inch height and four inch reach advantage on the night.
An ace Johnson also has up his sleeve is his wrestling which he used to good effect to completely cancel out Dan Hardy last year. Don’t be surprised if he pulls that card out again, but he’ll need to be careful as he’s vulnerable to submissions and though he prefers the stand-up battle Belfort is legit on the ground.
I was almost sold on the idea of picking Johnson here, the younger fighter with something to prove in his new weight class. There’s a few too many unknowns here though such as how he’ll adapt to the new weight class especially as he’s carrying a lot more muscle now, and whether he’ll have the same KO power in this division. We’ve also never seen him with this high level of a striker before. So Belfort is the more known quantity here, and if he’s right mentally for this fight I just give him the edge.
Vitor Belfort to win by TKO in Rd2
Mike Massenzio vs. Rousimar Palhares
Not too much analysis required here as this is a fight that looks to be slanted very much in the Brazilian Palhares favor.
Palhares is a tremendous grappler, has some of the nastiest submissions around and an incredibly powerful build which he can use to torque them to the maximum level.
That’s very bad news for Massenzio, a fighter on the outskirts of the middleweight division who doesn’t have a clear advantage in any aspect of this contest.
Palhares is going to be heading home with one of Massenzio’s limbs.
Rousimar Palhares to win by submission in Rd1.
Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim
For me this is one of the most interesting fights on the card, pitting two very promising lightweights against each other.
Barboza has shown himself to be a skilled stand-up technician with his kicks in particular being a significant and often unpredictable weapon. Etim is not without his own striking skills however, threading his combinations of punches and kicks together slickly, and his long frame is an advantage in the lightweight division. Overall Barboza is the more damaging fighter on the feet though.
On the mat the fight swings in Etim’s favor. He’s a real submission specialist and is always looking for the finish, and again his lanky limbs help him out in this regard. We haven’t seen much of Barboza’s ground game as yet, and he’ll need to be on point if he’s to avoid getting tapped.
This is another challenging one to predict. Barboza’s likely to be the favorite with his striking prowess and he’ll have the hometown advantage, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say that Etim can find a way to get him down and lock in a submission.
Terry Etim to win by submission in Rd2
Carlo Prater vs. Erick Silva
Experienced MMA fighter Prater finally gets his chance in the UFC and is immediately thrown in with a potential up-and-coming star in the sport.
Silva marked his UFC debut with a quick KO win in Rio last year and that could just be a sign of things to come as he’s a hotly tipped prospect with a well-rounded game. Striking isn’t his strongest suit though, but I think he has the edge over Prater who’s own game is more heavily towards mat work.
In fact both men are very adept on the floor with submissions accounting for the majority of the wins thus far in their careers. With that being said there is a good chance a ground battle between them could turn into a stalemate.
It should also be noted that Silva also has high level judo, and that could be a significant advantage in the takedown department.
This fight looks to be in Silva’s favor. He’s good where Prater is good, but also has better skills in other areas so he should be able to secure the victory here, though this one may go the distance.
Erick Silva to win by decision.
Sam Stout vs. Thiago Tavares
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ednaldo Oliveira
Yuri Alcantara vs. Michihiro Omigawa
Ricardo Funch vs. Mike Pyle
Felipe Arantes vs. Antonio Carvalho