Tomorrow night at UFC 189 Connor McGregor takes on Chad Mendes for the UFC Interim Featherweight World Title. The match will face one of the most unique and gifted strikers in the game against one of the most balanced fighters in the division. Mendes is filling in for World Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo who was injured in sparring. But despite the short notice, many people that know the fight game think he matches up better against McGregor than Aldo. I asked some of KnuckeUp’s top instructors who they thought would win the big fight.
“I’m a HUGE McGregor fan, less for his antics and more for his self-confidence and healthy respect for the psychological aspects of fighting. If I’m picking with my heart, McGregor all day. If I’m picking with my head, Mendes‘s wrestling neutralizes the striking and he takes the ‘W’.”
“McGregor! It will be interesting to see if McGregor can keep the fight standing so Mendes will not be able to implement his wrestling. Team Alpha Male produces well-rounded fighters, so if it does hit the ground, I’m sure McGregor will have a game plan.”
“I think that although Mendes would be able to take him down, and maybe submit him, McGregor will win because he has a crazy style that has helped him in the past that will probably help him win this one.”
“It will probably be a harder fight for McGregor than Aldo. McGregor’s ground game may not be good enough so Mendes would most likely come on top. Mendes will be able to take him down.”
“This will be a good fight. I pick McGregor. I know he’s a type of fighter you’re either going to love or hate but you cannot deny the fact that he’s plowed through his competition so far. I know he hasn’t fought many top-10 fighters but I believe he has the ability to. Mendes will be his toughest challenge yet, especially with Mendes’s ground game. I do believe Connor is not all hype and with a win against Mendes will prove he can hang with the best. If he stays on his feet and uses his unorthodox style of stand up, I think he can upset Mendes.”
“I want Mendes to win…to shut Connor’s mouth…. but Connor has been on such a tear lately…. it’s a tough one to call…. Gonna say Mendes wins via decision.”
“Yes! If I was to bet money it would be on Mendes, simply because I feel like he has more tools/ways to win the fight. That being said, we all know how big Connor is and how heavy he hits. So I wouldn’t be shocked if he pulled off a TKO or something. But in my mind, the odds are in Chad’s favor.”
“I honestly believe that Chad Mendes will be giving McGregor a run for his money. Reason being is because although McGregor has a winning record, he has never actually gone against a great wrestler as Chad Mendes. If Mendes manages to take McGregor to the ground repeatedly then Chad will win no doubt. The only possible way McGregor could win is if he manages to defend all takedowns and out-boxes Mendes.”
“My heart says McGregor, my brain says Mendes.”
“Yikes! Tough one. I will go with McGregor by KO.”
“In MMA, the more balanced fighter usually wins. In this case the more balanced fighter is definitely Chad Mendes. McGregor has one way to win the fight (with unorthodox striking from the standing position) and Mendes has several. I predict that Mendes will be able to eventually get the fight on the ground where he wants it and then grind out a decision win.”
So at Knuckle-Up it looks like the call is: Mendes 6, McGregor 4, with 1 no decisions.