Chad Mendes wasn’t able to continue his destructive knockout streak, but did make a strong case to be next in line for a UFC featherweight title shot. Mendes recorded a unanimous decision victory over Nik Lentz at UFC on FOX 9 in Sacramento.
It looked like Mendes was well on his way to a fifth consecutive KO when he had Lentz badly hurt in the opening round after landing a huge left and right combination. He made Lentz pay for employing a stand-and-trade approach. However, Lentz managed to survive the onslaught and even though he was bloodied, he managed to land a huge kick to the body that seemed to take some starch out of Mendes’s attack.
Mendes utilized a strong takedown game throughout the contest, showcasing his wrestling skills and finishing the fight strong by once again hurting “The Carny” late in the final round. Lentz showed tremendous toughness and actually came on strong in the final round, pressuring Mendes and doing some damage of his own.
The judges’ scored the fight 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 all in favor of the top contender. Mendes has reeled off five straight wins since his loss to champion Jose Aldo at UFC 142.
It seems clear that Mendes should be next in line for the winner of the UFC 169 matchup on February 1 between Aldo and challenger Ricardo Lamas. Mendes talked about a sinus infection playing a role as to why he was not as dominant as he’s been of late, but he still impressed. Lentz showed solid resolve and will continue to be a threat for anyone in the featherweight division. It was his first loss in four fights since making the move down from the lightweight division.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports