UFC 164 Henderson / Pettis is set to happen this Saturday night and the 10th fight on the card, 3rd from the top, is a 145 pound bout that features Chad “Money” Mendes squaring off against Clay “The Carpenter” Guida.
As we know, Mendes took-on division champion Jose Aldo in January of last year (UFC 142) and resultantly, suffered a round 1 (KO) loss for his troubles. Since that time, 'Money' has been on a 3 fight winning streak and has obliterated all 3 his opponents by round 1 (KO) stoppages.
'Money' says the difference between then (when he fought Aldo) and now, is his stand-up. As the featherweight put it:
"Before I developed a stand-up game I relied on mostly my wrestling, and ground and pound. Now that I have the stand-up and power to knock people out, and the ability to understand what I am doing in there I think it is dangerous for a lot of guys."
In terms of his stand-up, Mendes gives all the credit to his new striking coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig. Since joining “Team Alpha Male”, Ludwig has instilled in them a sense of order and purpose in the team’s training and the results have been nothing short of remarkable. In the 19 months that he’s been with them, TAM has gone 11 & 0 and is now on the brink of putting 2 fighters into championship contention; Mendes and Joseph Benavidez. Mendes spoke highly of Ludwig to News 10 from Sacramento:
"Before we all just tried to help each other out and did what we thought was right and we didn't have that head coach figure to trust and believe in, and now Duane has come and he has a very specific system (Ludwig teaches "Bang" Muay Thai). It has been great for us and it has shown during the last few fights and everyone has been feeling and looking good."
In terms of his upcoming bout with Guida, Mendes says he’s prepared for 2 versions of Clay Guida; the one that comes to fight and the one that dances around. Mendes decribed his training for "The Carpenter":
"We are prepared for any type of Clay Guida that shows up. There is the type of Guida who used to stand in the pocket and throws and be afraid to get into your face, and there is the type of Guida lately who has been a point fighter where he is dancing on the outside and pitter-pattering."
Personally, I think this will be a tough fight for Guida to win, as Mendes has looked great of late and he appears to be in stellar shape for this fight. My guess is that Mendes will probably prove to be too much for the "The Carpenter."