Chad Mendes will be stepping inside the Octagon to lock horns with the irascible Conor McGregor. But how does this affect the UFC odds & can we make this fight a winning UFC pick?
Mendes More Dangerous?
An injury to featherweight king Jose Aldo spelled opportunity for Chad Mendes to face Conor McGregor this July 11th in UFC189.
Though Chad Mendes lost both of his matches, and the only two losses of his career, to UFC Featherweight champ Jose Aldo it is fair to say that Money's grappling game could be a game-changer in his tilt with Conor McGregor. According to McGregor's camp the mad Irishman has no preference whom he fights as long as he is fighting for a title, any title. But the truth of the matter is that Jose Aldo was an opponent far more suited to McGregor's punishing brand of mixed martial arts. Aldo, for better or worse, was more than likely going to stand toe-to-toe with McGregor and make this one a war that in many pundit's minds would have been lucky to go beyond three rounds.
But now we have a different breed of cat in Chad Mendes. Yes, he did lose both fights to Aldo but it should be noted that his rematch on October 25th of last year at UFC 179 was proclaimed Fight of the Year and one in which Mendes lost a very close unanimous decision. So why then would he be considered a more difficult opponent for Conor McGregor than the man who actually holds the belt and has defeated Mendes on two occasions? Chief among the reasons would be McGregor's suspect takedown defense. While Jose Aldo is masterful at preventing a grappling expert to take the fight to the canvas most of McGregor's fights have been against stand-up opponents. Of course one could make a case for Denis Siver and his nine career submissions as a viable ground guy that McGregor defeated but Siver is 36-years-old and is not a highly pedigreed BJJ master or wrestling savant.
Despite the fact that Conor McGregor has been steamrolling the competition the fact of the matter is he has been up against only a pair of truly dangerous opponents in the featherweight category and neither of them ground game tacticians. The Notorious one scored a unanimous decision victory over up-and-comer and striker by trade Max Holloway as well as a thoroughly impressive first round TKO of Dustin Poirier, yet another striker, whom has since moved up to lightweight. McGregor has had only two losses in his career and guess what? They were both losses via submissions. Granted both those defeats came a while ago however one of those two fighters who vanquished McGregor recently made his UFC debut in spectacular fashion with a first-round TKO. That man's name is Joseph Duffy (13-1) and he is a bona fide submission specialist with the requisite jiu-jitsu black belt and currently training with the boys from Tristar Gym.
The UFC Odds
As many of you know who had been anticipating the showdown between McGregor and Aldo, it was indeed the challenger who moved from a slight underdog to a -140 favorite when word got out that Aldo had been injured. Now that Aldo has been replaced by a healthy Chad Mendes the UFC odds have not strayed far from where they settled before Aldo declared himself unfit to fight.
If you believe as I do that McGregor can weather the storm from Mendes's relentless takedown strategy then your best UFC189 pick would be to shop on over to BetDSI where they are hanging McGregor -140. However if you feel that Mendes is a live dog and will take this fight to the mat and beat up McGregor for five rounds or less then you can do no better than Pinnacle Sports offering a +136 return on Mendes.
The bottom line here is that McGregor is simply too big for Mendes. The Notorious one is three inches taller and owns a daunting eight inch reach advantage. Those advantages could be nullified if McGregor cannot manage to stay upright but I believe Mendes will take a world of punishment trying to get inside on a devastating striker like Conor McGregor.
UFC189 Pick: Conor McGregor -140 at BetDSI