UFC 179 goes down in Brazil tomorrow night and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes
What a finely balanced title fight we’ve got on our hands here! Mendes has definitely improved on his striking since their last encounter almost three years ago and now wields genuine power that Aldo will have to be wary of.
Nevertheless, Aldo is still the more complete, technical striker overall and is capable of those ‘lightning in a bottle’ moments that can end a fight in an instant such as the perfectly timed knee strike that finished Mendes in 2012.
Up until that point in their first meeting Mendes was giving Aldo problems though with repeated takedown attempts and clinch work, and while the champ showed good takedown defense for the most part, it did throw off his offensive game to some extent and instead put him on the offensive and there’s no reason to suggest that can’t be the case again on Saturday night.
Perhaps Aldo will have new tricks up his sleeve to deal with Mendes, or he’ll find ways to adapt if the fight goes beyond the first round, but at the same time he tends to fade a little in the later rounds cardio wise, whereas the Team Alpha Male product should have the greater energy reserves. Taking that into consideration it looks like this could be the biggest threat yet to Aldo’s remarkable unbeaten run and I’m leaning towards the possibility that we might just be looking at a new featherweight champion this weekend.
Chad Mendes to win by decision.
Glover Teixeira vs. Phil Davis
Both of these two light-heavyweights have recently come up short at the very top end of the division, but nevertheless they are still two high quality competitors.
Of the two Davis perhaps has the most glaring weakness in that his striking game is only functional at best and while Teixeira has been hurt in the past, ‘Mr Wonderul’ lacks the power to really trouble him. On the other end of the equation the Brazilian is the opposite – heavy-handed and at his best wading in throwing heavy-leather.
In terms of pure wrestling Davis is better with excellent control and good submissions to complement that, but Teixeira has good takedown defense and has solid wrestling within the context of an MMA bout with dangerous ground and pound at his disposal when he gets on top and submissions too, highlighting his well-rounded skill-set.
Like the Anthony Johnson fight this might prove to be another bad match-up for Davis as he’s forced to keep the fight standing and comes off second best to the more dangerous slugger.
Glover Teixeira to win by TKO in Rd3.
Fabio Maldonado vs. Hans Stringer
Thankfully Maldonado is back at light-heavyweight for this match-up after an ill-advised excursion to heavyweight. Even the Brazilian’s well documented toughness couldn’t help him out there, but along with good close-range boxing and some nasty body work it’s generally stood him in good stead at 205lbs.
Hailing from Holland, Stringer is something of a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. If he can get the fight to the mat then he could find some success, but Maldonado does fairly well at keeping upright and I see him luring Stringer into a striking battle that he’ll get the better of.
Fabio Maldonado to win by decision.
Darren Elkins vs. Lucas Martins
After a rocky start Martins has settled into the UFC’s featherweight ranks with three wins in a row with his dangerous striking in particular standing him in good stead.
Elkins has that grinding wrestling style so feared by those who prefer to entertain on the feet though and repeated takedowns and long spells on top is likely to be the order of the day here as he takes the fight to the scorecards.
Darren Elkins to win by decision.
Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Beneil Dariush
We’ve got two very talented jiu-jitsu stylists on display in the main card opener on Saturday night.
Often when that’s the case it’s their other skills that will help separate them and in this case Ferreira seems to have a little more to offer with capable counter-striking on the feet and that coupled with the home advantage might be just enough to help him edge out a judges decision.
Carlos Diego Ferreira to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
William Macario vs. Neil Magny
Yan Cabral vs. Naoyuki Kotani
Scott Jorgensen vs. Wilson Reis
Felipe Arantes vs. Andre Fili
Gilbert Burns vs. Christos Giagos
Fabricio Camoes vs. Tony Martin