5 Dimes BetDSI BookMaker Bovada SportBet
Chad Mendes +160 +150 +150 +155 +164
Conor McGregor -185 -190 -175 -190 -181

Now, let’s breakdown the matchup we’ve all been waiting for. Will Mendes shutdown the hype train? Or, will McGregor once again prove he’s unable to be contained? Fortunately we will have these answers when all is said and done on Saturday night.

Striking

It comes as no surprise that McGregor will look to stand and exchange when the two meet in the center of the Octagon. His unorthodox style of fighting has yet to be deciphered by anyone thus far in his UFC career. In just five UFC fights, McGregor has recorded knockout victories over the likes of Marcus Brimage, Diego Brandao, Dustin Poirier, and more recently, Dennis Siver.

It’s also worth noting that McGregor will have a mind-boggling eight inch reach advantage over Mendes, not to mention a three inch height advantage. Mendes has never faced an opponent with that type of reach. This alone raises many red flags.

Even still, Mendes is no slouch on his feet as we’ve seen him stand and exchange with arguably the best striker in featherweight history in Aldo. The two stood and exchanged leather for five rounds in what would be recognized as 2014’s fight of the year. But considering what he’s up against, it won’t be long until Mendes shoots for the takedown.

Advantage: McGregor

Wrestling/Grappling

Just as few consider Mendes the superior striker in this matchup, few would consider McGregor to have the advantage in the wrestling department. A two-time All-American at Cal Poly, Mendes will unquestionably look to challenge McGregor to a battle on the mat.

While McGregor has yet to be taken down through his first five UFC fights, Mendes is highly recognized as the best wrestler in the featherweight division. His ability to pressure his opponent against the cage is relentless and exhausting. If Mendes is able to put McGregor on his back, he should have his way with the Irish native.

FIGHTER KD SIG. STR. SIG. STR. % TOTAL STR.           TDS TD % SUB. ATT PASS

Jose Aldo

Chad Mendes

1

0

102 of 269

77 of 194

37%

39%

122 of 289

85 of 203

0 of 0

1 of 8

12%

0

0

2

0

However, if we glance at his five round clash with Aldo at UFC 179, the numbers prove Mendes wasn’t able to effectively utilize his wrestling to overpower an even smaller Aldo. Mendes was successful on just one takedown in eight attempts. In a sense, Aldo forced Mendes to stand and exchange, resulting in his defeat.

Is Mendes still the favorite in this category? Without question.

Advantage: Mendes

Submissions

Since McGregor and Mendes are so gifted in what they do best, striking and wrestling, they haven’t had to turn to their submission game. This doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t well equipped for wherever the fight may adventure, but it also doesn’t indicate they’re experts in the category either.

Mendes has captured two victories by submission in his career, both coming prior to joining the UFC. Early on in his career, McGregor was suspect in his submission defense, dropping bouts to Artemij Sitenkov and Joseph Duffy. Take note, both occasions were during his development years and McGregor has since won 13 straight fights.

While it’s unlikely we’ll see a submission on July 11, Mendes takes the slight edge in the submission department.

Advantage: Mendes

The Verdict

On paper, Mendes looks to be the favorite as experience, wrestling, and submissions give him the advantage, even though the odds state otherwise. The overarching X-Factor in this fight will be Mendes’ ability to incorporate his wrestling and put McGregor in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable position.

Conor McGregor (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Conor McGregor (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Unlike his second meeting with Aldo at UFC 179, Mendes needs to meditate on closing the distance and putting McGregor up against the cage and ultimately on his back. Even if he isn’t successful at first, grappling and overpowering with his strength will allow Mendes to wear down McGregor.

Unfortunately for Mendes, I see McGregor defending several takedowns, and as a result, Mendes avoiding his game plan. Just like that, Mendes will be standing and trading with the division’s most accurate striker, and more than likely, the new interim featherweight champion.

Prediction: McGregor by KO/TKO, Round 2

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