Featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo will defend his UFC title against Chad Mendes, the promotion confirmed on Sunday. The fight will be a rematch of their encounter at UFC 142, where Aldo knocked Mendes out with a knee in the first round to hand the American his first-and-only professional loss. The fight will serve as the main event for the UFC 176 card on August 2 at Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California.
Aldo will attempt to defend his belt for the seventh time after an impressive streak since moving to the UFC in 2011 due to the merger with WEC. Now considered one of the best fighters pound-for-pound in the sport, Aldo has beaten the likes of Ricardo Lamas, Frankie Edgar and Kenny Florian, and will come into his second fight with Mendes as a heavy favourite. In their first fight, ‘Scarface’ showed his impressive takedown defence against a powerful wrestler in Mendes, but ‘Money has won five in a row in stunning fashion since the fight.
With four finishes in his last five, Mendes has more than earned his second title shot, and his recent wins over Clay Guida and Nik Lentz were eye-openers to doubters. 29 years of age and fighting out of the well respect Team Alpha Male camp, ‘Money’ has a big chance at upsetting the champion with his knockout power, strong wrestling pedigree and his staggering athleticism.
Aldo finished their first fight with just one second left in the first round, though held the cage on more than one occasion when trying to avoid Mendes’ takedown attempts. Under the tutelage of Duane Ludwig, Mendes’ boxing has grown exponentially, making him even more of a threat to the featherweight champion than the first encounter. If ‘Money’ can exploit Aldo’s habit of fading in the later rounds, it could be an interesting battle.
UFC 176 is set for August 2 at Staples Centre in Los Angeles, CA. with Aldo vs. Mendes 2 being, thus far, the only announced bout for the card. More fights are expected to be released in the coming weeks.