UFC 189 Preview: Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes

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UFC 189 is almost upon us as the event is finally set to go down this Saturday (July 11, 2015) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada presented live on pay-per-view (PPV). Although we won’t get to see the highly-anticipated, and long-awaited featherweight title mega fight between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor, we were still given a pretty solid replacement.

Multi-time title challenger Chad “Money” Mendes has stepped up on short notice to meet McGregor for the interim title, and some have even said that Mendes presents a tougher challenge to the “Notorious” one.

We almost have a classic striker vs. grappler bout here, but it’s much more than that, and in my mind it happens to be one of the most unpredictable bouts in the sport’s history. However, it will still be analyzed and without further ado, check out LowKickMMA’s Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes breakdown here:

Striking

This is the brash Irishmen’s area of expertise. McGregor has proven to be a wizard on the feet, showing off exquisite movement, and the ability to throw techniques other fighters just don’t. The “Notorious” one may be the featherweight division’s best striker, and one of the best strikers in the game period, as his arsenal of unpredictable kicks and angles, paired with his devastating power has made him a true force. With 15 knockouts in 17 wins, and an outstanding 5.72 significant strikes landed per minute, McGregor has proven to be elite on the feet.

However, that doesn’t mean Mendes is a slouch in the striking department, and he especially showed that when he stood in the pocket and went toe-to-toe with Aldo for five rounds last October. Having always possessed knockout power, “Money” has evolved into a more complete striker, with crisp combos and solid footwork.

A key factor for me here, however, is that McGregor will own a massive eight inch reach advantage over Mendes. The Irishmen may be able to just pick apart “Money”, and based on that and McGregor’s technicality, I have to go 60-40 McGregor.

Takedowns

This is where the Team Alpha Male product thrives. Many have criticized McGregor for having not faced an elite wrestler, and Mendes definitely fits the bill. A two-time NCAA division I All-American, “Money” uses explosiveness, and unparalleled athleticism to consistently land takedowns, landing 4.10 per bout.

Now, with McGregor, we really don’t know too much about his wrestling, and the speculation that he is weak in this area may be just that: speculation, but the fact remains that he was taken down twice by Dennis Siver, who is not known for his wrestling. The Irishmen simply doesn’t have the wrestling experience or credentials of Mendes, and that’s why “Money” earns a whopping advantage in this area. 65-35 Mendes.

Submissions

This is a tough area to call as neither man is necessarily known for his submissions. Sure Mendes has the advantage when it comes to getting the fight to the mat, but does he have the advantage once it gets there? It’s hard to tell.

For one, McGregor does actually hold a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, as opposed to “Money” who has no formal ranking. However, there is one glaring factor here for me. Mendes has two submission wins, and McGregor’s only two career losses have come by way of submission. These losses were earlier in his career, and he has undoubtedly evolved since, but they do prove that the Irish phenom has the ability to make a mistake on the ground, and for that reason I have to give Mendes the ever so slight advantage. 55-45 Mendes.

This fight seems to be just as hard to break down, as it is to predict as it could end up playing out in so many different ways. Only time will tell, as fight night is approaching, but how do you see it playing out, and who do you see taking home the interim title?

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