Rising star Chad Mendes is getting the chance to avenge his only professional loss as he will tangle with featherweight champion Jose Aldo in the main event of UFC 176. The title rematch is set for Los Angeles on August 2 with both competitors riding impressive win streaks heading in.
“Money” had his first shot at the dominant 145-pound champion in Brazil at UFC 142. Aldo showcased his spectacular skills by finishing Mendes with a brutal knee to the face at the 4:59 mark of the very first round. The electrifying stoppage set off one of the more memorable post-fight celebrations in UFC history as Aldo bolted from the Octagon and joined his joyous Brazilian brethren in the crowd.
Mendes has been a man on a mission since that loss, while Aldo has continued to rule the division. The Team Alpha Male member has reeled off five straight wins since that defeat in 2012, with four of those triumphs coming by way of knockout. Mendes has improved his striking substantially under the watchful eye of head coach Duane Ludwig.
The No. 1-ranked contender became the first fighter to ever stop the incredibly tough Clay Guida via strikes, and most recently Mendes secured a decision win over Nik Lentz at UFC on FOX 9. Lentz showed plenty of resolve to last the distance and ended the impressive four-fight knockout streak of Mendes. The challenger possesses a stellar wrestling background as well which is a solid compliment to his punching power. Mendes is 16-1 with 8 career finishes by knockout or submission.
Aldo has become one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the organization. He has an impressive 24-1 career record and possesses an explosive striking game. His leg kicks are among the most damaging in the sport. He put them to good use in recording a unanimous decision victory over Ricardo Lamas in his last fight at UFC 169.
The dangerous Brazilian has 16 wins by way of knockout or submission. He owns notable career victories over Cub Swanson, Urijah Faber, Frankie Edgar and Chan Sung Jung. This will mark his seventh title defense in the UFC.
Aldo initially won the belt in his WEC days by knocking out Mike Brown. He made two successful defenses in that organization before being promoted to UFC champion. Aldo hasn’t lost since 2005 and has won 17 straight fights.
This shapes up as a terrific rematch at the Staples Center with both competitors at the top of their games right now. Mendes did all that he possibly could have to warrant another title shot. He will be highly motivated and will have to be at the top of his game to dethrone the immensely skilled and explosive Aldo.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports