Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes II, UFC 179, 25 October 2014

jose aldo vs chad mendes IIWe at Cage Inspiration believe that it is the fight fan’s right to have the best of the best fights made available to them. In our “best of the best fights” section, we try and find those fights that inspired us to be fight fans and continue to inspire us to be the best that we can be and do the best that we can do.

Sometimes a good fight is difficult to find. A good fight is one that has the right amount of action, where the fighters are equally matched and show spectacular reactions, skill and training. A fight where the fighters aren’t afraid to engage and even draw blood. A fight where the audience are drawn into the battle in awe of the courage and the abilities of the fighters.

UFC 179 was headlined by the second UFC Featherweight Championship fight between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes. Mendes is able to bring out the fight in Aldo like no other opponent has before. This fight may be a contender for Fight of the Year. In short, this fight qualifies to be included in our “best of the best fights”. Don’t think, just watch.

Click and scroll for the full fight video

After Chad Mendes lost to Jose Aldo in their first title fight in January 2012, he hopped into his X-Wing, traveled to the Dagobah system and received some serious training. Under the tutelage of Duane Bang Ludwig, Chad has graduated from relying heavily on his wrestling base and developed a strong striking game. He even found a pair of Iron Mike Tyson fists along the way. This is the same Bang Ludwig that trained TJ Dillashaw to victory against a dominant Bantamweight Champion in Renan Barao.

Since finding his inner peace and his striking ability, Chad Mendez has been on an absolute tear of the featherweight division with TKO finishes against Cody McKenzie, Darren Elkins, and Clay Guida. Winning five in a row, Chad Mendes earned a rematch against Jose Aldo with rising hype-train star Conor McGregor nipping at his heels.

Coming into this fight, fight fans knew that we had a new, improved, and dangerous Chad Mendes. But is that enough to dethrone the dominant Jose Aldo? Maybe…

Jose Aldo has been a featherweight champion ever since knocking down Mike Brown with devastating knees to the body in 2009. The same knees that knocked Chad Mendes out cold in Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes I.  Jose Aldo defended his WEC Featherweight Championship belt three times including a gruesome leg-kick heavy fight against former WEC Featherweight king pin Urijah Faber. Then Jose Aldo transitioned over to the UFC (along with the acquisition of WEC) and became the UFC Featherweight Champion with a win over Judo guru Manny Gamburyan. Since then, Jose has defended his belt 6 times.

But fight fans also know that despite his talent Jose Aldo has always suffered from issues with conditioning. He starts with an almost 20 pound weight cut to get to 145 lbs. Then he usually suffers from oxygen deprivation given his muscular frame. He has been known to fade and give his opponents rounds 4 and 5. He did this in his fights against Mark Hominick, Kenny Florian, and Frankie Edgar. If Jose had a conditioning issue against a tough wrestling based pressure fighter with knock-out power in both hands who also happens to be on a five fight win streak? We may have a new champion at the end of the night.Which Jose is going to show up. The Jose that tore through guys like Cub Swanson, Mike Brown, and Chad Mendes I? or the Jose that got tired and beat up.

Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes II

Chad Mendes comes out and starts the fight with leg kicks. An interesting way to try and beat the leg-kick master at his own game.  Mendes is putting pressure on Aldo. It is interesting how neither fighter seems to be going to their expected move. Aldo hardly attempts a leg kick and Mendes only tries to take Aldo down once. Probably because both fighters know that their opponent has prepared for this. When Mendes does attempt to take Aldo down in the last minute of the first round, Aldo shows his incredible reflexes and take down defense and jumps right back up to his feet.

Mendes’s strategy seems to be to pressure Aldo and make the champion work. A good strategy to gas out Aldo and win the later rounds. But in pressuring him, Mendes is standing right in front of the champion. The pressure and the positioning brings out Aldo’s beautiful Muay Thai technique. Quick strikes to the body, beautiful hooks, superhuman reflexes, blazing fast and dangerously merciless combinations. Despite the trip to Dagobah, Aldo seems to possess technique that is just a notch better than the contender.

At the end of the first round, Aldo catches Mendes with a clean 1-2 on the chin after the bell. Mendes is buckled and falls against the cage. Although it seems that the punches were clearly illegal, Dana White later clears the controversy by proving that the round ending bell could not be heard from the ring or the ring-side seats in the stadium.

Just from the first round, the audience can feel that they have a legendary fight on their hands. Mendes is bringing the fight out of Aldo. Aldo fans are excited by their champions ability to react. The big question on everyone’s mind is whether the champion can sustain this pace for another four rounds.

In round 2 we see traces of Duane Bang Ludwig training in Mendes. We see some tricky angles and unorthodox foot movement. However nothing to the extent of what we saw with TJ Dillashaw. Mendes is bringing out the most exciting Aldo we have seen since his 1st round KO days in the WEC. Awesome technique and the ability to react and avoid getting hit. In the second round, we are reminded that in order to be the champ, you must beat the champ.  Is Chad doing enough to tire Aldo out? On our cards, Mendes has lost the first two rounds. It’s time to shine Mendes!

Round 3 is probably the most exciting round of the fight. Aldo shows awesome power in this hand, catching Mendes with some hard shots that put Chad off his balance. Just by the sound of those shots, you know the action is only going to rise. Mendes catches Aldo with an upper cut flush on the chin. Aldo tries to clear the cob webs and shake it off but Chad follows quickly with two left hooks in a row. Aldo is hurt, Mendes smells blood and tries to close in for the kill. Jose sees him coming in, the cage is close behind, he has nowhere to go, boom, he drops Mendes with a counter right landing right behind the ear. Mendes tries to survive by holding on to a single. If Aldo wasn’t so rocked by the earlier combination, he may well have finished Mendes right there and then.

Round 4 was a breather round for the champ. Mendes tried to do some damage but his tenacity only resulted in an accidental headbutt that cuts Aldo below the left eye. Aldo picks up the pace again in round 5 and proves that his conditioning has definitely improved. He lands a beautiful knee to Chad Mendes’s body to seal the victory.

Jose Aldo wins a 5 round decision to retain his championship title. Mendes has brought the fight out of Aldo and the champ does not disappoint. Nothing short of a spectacular spectacular fight. This is MMA at its best. This is heart, skill, blood, and power. This is cage inspiration.

Click here for Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes I.

Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes II