T Nation

McGregor vs. Mendes


#1

Who are you guys picking?

To me, I think this fight will be won or lost in the scrambles. McGregor is a big 145'er, Mendes not so much, and he will be giving up a ridiculous reach advantage. He's fought taller guys before for sure, and it has worked pretty well, but e.g. in the fight with Lamas it took him few minutes of finding his timing, and all this time he was happy bouncing out of his range. Needless to say, that would be very bad strategy against McGregor, so I'm guessing Mendes will be very eager to make it a wrestling match.

Unless McGregor is completely inept from his back, which I find hard to believe considering his physical talent, he will probably be very active in the scrambles and his long limbs might cause problems to Mendes who, despite being a great wrestler, probably doesn't have the best top control in the game.

The thing is, in the past McGregor has been very easy to tag when breaking up from the scrambles. None of the guys he has faced thus far have packed nearly the punch that Mendes has, and considering that Mendes' wrestling is much more of a threat, I wonder if McGregor can eat a flush 'sneaker' ala Hendo - Shogun II. Thus far his chin has held up just fine, but considering how he tends to keep his hands low (probably will even more so against a wrestler) and chin high, I don't think he can eat too many shots from Mendes, although the same is probably true the other way around as well.


#2

I'm not sure. I'm more just pissed probably one of the biggest events this year will see fell through.

That said, I think mendes will be a better test for Mcgregor. We haven't see him face a true wrestler yet. Most of the guys he's trounced have been guys who like to stand and bang but are actually average strikers.


#3

I agree with you Aussie, IMO this will be a big test for McGregor. I think the fight will be won or lost depending on who can keep things in their area of superiority. If Mendes can close the distance consistently and make it a wrestling match I see him beating McGregor, possibly via TKO or submission but just as likely via unanimous decision.

Being a very good wrestler, I'd also have to disagree with Fisticuffs about his top game; wrestlers almost always have great top control but weak bottom games. If he gets on top of McGregor, especially if he can pass and get to side control or mount, I think we see him keep McGregor there and quite possibly finish him.

If however McGregor can keep things at a distance where he can use his reach to tag Mendes or jam him in his wrestling attempts, then I think he eventually lands some significant shots and will beat Chad.

It's basically your classic Wrestler vs Striker match-up in my opinion. Seeing how well Mendes did against Aldo the last time and how little McGregor has proven himself able to keep a good wrestler off of him (he has never really faced a top level wrestler to the best of my knowledge), I would probably wager that Mendes gets his hand raised at the end of the fight, which is actually a little disappointing because we've already seen him lose to Aldo twice and I'd have rather seen McGregor get a shot at Aldo.


#4

Generally speaking, yes. I was mainly thinking of his fight vs. Lentz (who also happens to be close to McGregor in height) where he'd either lose the top position or be unable to do a lot of damage from there. Of course we don't know if McGregor has the bottom game to stop him from passing and controlling him, that is all just guessing, but what I meant is that he is no JBJ who can control his opponent at ease and at the same time threaten him with fight ending elbows and submissions. Of course that all is mostly irrelevant if McGregor's bottom game proves to be inadequate.

Guess a better way to put it would have been to say that his top control is excellent, but his ability to combine solid top control with strikes didn't necessarily hold up against e.g. Lentz, and in most of his recent fights he has relied heavily on his hands.


#5

Sinds you mentioned the sneaker, I guess we have a Slack-fan here.
http://fightland.vice.com/blog/machida-and-schilling-fall-the-takedown-reigns-supreme

Following this article, I don't think Mcgregors biggest problems will arise on the ground when fighting a wrestler like Mendes. The problems will also arise standing
If Mcgregor is taken down:
1)Mendes is getting points,
2)Mendes can lay on him, so Mcgregor is losing on points and time
3)Striking sucks if your afraid of 1 and 2. Hands drop (well Conor carries them low tho), pushing the action gets riskier (and Mcgregor is pushing all the time to get the counter).

I am very excited what will happen. Those hipster kicks can be a double-edged sword I guess: Maybe they are tricky enough to force, and keep, Mendes at bay. But maybe those kicks make the takedown a breeze.

On another side, Mcgregors game is based around doing stuff that makes him look like a cocky bastard (talking, waving hands, hipster kicks), and when his guy tries to counter, he counters the counter.
If Mendes thinks he can counter with a overhand, left hook or takedown, there might just be a left hand or a knee waiting for him.


#6

I honestly don't know how good McGregor's takedown defense is. Has he ever faced such a high level wrestler as Mendes? I don't think he has. While he is a talented fighter I think he's been propped a bit by Dana and company wanting to pull in the Irish PPV. Keep in mind guys that this is a business and they smelled money in Ireland. Also, McGregor is an easy sell very flashy fighter. Again, I'm not saying he's not a talented fighter, he absolutely is. But I think Aldo would have killed him. I don't see him being in the league of the top three (or so) fighters.

Also, I think Mendes is a bad match up for McGregor. I am looking for Mendes to take him down early and begin the ground and pound. Will it work..that's anybody's guess. But if I had to choose it would be Mendes wins by stoppage. Let's say it happens by the third round.


#7

Yeah, I hear you there, he is more of a decision top control wrestler than a finisher. My point was more so that since McGregor is so unproven off his back against a good top control guy, it's not unlikely that he eventually gets frustrated and gives Mendes a sub or a really dominant top control position where Mendes may finish him.

Also, the longer Mendes can keep the fight on the ground and tire out McGregor as he continues to attempt to get up and back to his range, the less chances McGregor has of landing that solid shot he needs to win.


#8

i suspect McGregor will be able to bully Mendes with his size. he's got an 8 inch reach, and i suspect he will weigh a good 20 lbs more.

if Connor gets past Mendes, then i'll be more comfortable with him getting a title shot...


#9

I'm not sure about that, a guy with great takedowns, a big overhand and a low COG is a pain in the ass to handle. I personally hate fighting compact guys. I pick a guy my size, 200lbs over a guy a feet shorter 200lbs everyday.


#10

I don't know the answer to this question so someone help me out. Has McGregor ever beaten anyone in the top 6 or 7? If not then ask yourself why is he even getting a title shot?


#11

He hasn't, but everyone he has faced he has destroyed with ease. The thing is, JBJ didn't exactly face a murders row of competition either before destroying Shogun, and UFC was building him up in a sort of similar fashion. His final fight before challenging for the title was against Bader, I recall him being low top 10 fighter at the time. That said, Mendes has also fought his fair share of lower ranked guys in between title shots, and often beaten them in equally impressive fashion, even if not as flashy.

That depends a lot on how both guys can handle the reach difference though. Connor moves better, has more well rounded striking game and similar to Jones, he likes to use those sidekicks to tight to keep his distance.

It'll be interesting to see how McGregor's cardio holds up if the fight goes deep, which it potentially could if Mendes can hold McGregor down. I recall he slowed down a fair bit against Holloway in the latter rounds, although he did blow his knee and its two years from that fight. Still, being that he clearly cuts a lot of weight to make 145 I wouldn't expect him to have the best cardio in the division by any stretch, at least if he can't dictate the pace of the fight.


#12

Honestly I truly believe Connor is leap frogging the division simply on timing from Aldo clearing it out. He might be better than I think, but until I see him stop Mendes cardio and wrestling I have a feeling Edgar might make a run to stay busy until he gets his rightful shot.


#13

If you smack down enough lesser gifted opponents in spectacular fashion you get a title shot?

As you say it has happened like this before. But, as a rule I don't think this is a standard practice and I am very leery of his skills vs. say a top 5 opponent.

Also, this begs the questions how come Frank Edgar was not given a shot at McGregor? He seems the more logical candidate. He's fought and won and sometimes barely lost to several top tier fighters.

Yet, Mendes is the chosen one?

Hmm....Now you know Dana wants McGregor to win PPV dollars from Ireland on a long term basis. Therefore, he wants him to win this fight. Makes me wonder what he knows about Mendes. Does he have bad knees unable to shoot a takedown, or in Dana's view is Mendes simply more likely to lose to McGregor than Edgar?

Hey, just throwing it out there.

Some may say that I am over thinking this. But, I saw how they've promoted certain favorites in order to beef up PPV dollars in that favorites country, Bisping for example, there are others.

I'm just wondering how much we can trust the UFC process at this point.

Then again I could be way off base....but I doubt it.


#14

I'm not saying it should be a standard practice or anything, but what I am saying is that there is a similar wibe to how McGregor has been built up by UFC and how JBJ got built up, won the title and defended it more times than anyone before in 205. He has different, unorthodox skill set and for that reason people will always doubt him, similar to JBJ.

Hell, I myself bet against Bones heavily when he faced Shogun, but that didn't go too well. The thing is, McGregor does certain things, such as controlling the distance, dictating the pace and basic meat and potatoes boxing really well for a MMA fighter, and people forget that when all they see is him talking about how he is going to make tons of money by obliterating the whole division and throwing all the crazy kicks he does.

Of course his ground game has not been tested in UFC, but to disregard the fact that he is hell of an athlete and has a clear edge in at least one part of the game sounds precisely like what I've done in the past on a couple of occasions, and I pretty much always ended up admitting that I was wrong.

I think the question of Edgar and Mendes is a factor of 2 things - firstly, I personally think Edgar is a tougher fight for McGregor than Mendes would be. He has shown that he can hang with the big boys and surprisingly, he is the only fighter that McGregor hasn't talked about once.

On the other hand, Edgar has never been a huge fan favorite for whatever reason, despite his legendary wars with Maynard. His most impressive performances as of late include for example wrestlefucking Swanson in a showcase fashion, but I don't think your casual fan appreciates that as much as one of Mendes' 1R knockouts. Mendes has been knocking out guys left and right and just had a fight of the year with the current champ - its a fight that is much easier to say, coupled with the fact that I don't recall if Edgar has ever said a bad word about his opponents, whereas Mendes seems to be completely happy returning the fire.

So yea, I see your point about UFC pushing McGregor, not just for the PPV buys from Ireland but for the reason that he generates a lot of interest and draws PPV buys from all over the world. But it doesn't diminish the fact that he is a very talented fighter, and could very potentially prove himself against the very top of the division, in a similar fashion as JBJ did some years ago.


#15

Porrier was top 5 when they fought.


#16

i think you're right about Edgar being tougher.... his timing is weird, he controls distance well, has great cardio, etc...

i'm a big Edgar fan, but i think it's because he's one of those guys that just outworks everybody else, and i love to see that. his second fight with Maynard was insane...


#17

I totally agree Edgar is better than Mendes. So, why did Dana choose Mendes? Doesn't this bother anyone else?

Could the answer be that he wants McGregor to win?

And I wonder what might be wrong with Mendes?

Bad knees? Something else we don't know about?

I stopped trusting Dana White and company a long time ago. I've seen too many "setup" fights. Fights that they were obviously pulling for one fighter over the other. Placing an obviously less talented fighter against the guy they want to win. Also, having the fight in the fighters country that they want to win etc.

Also, I am suspicious about Aldo's injury.

This whole thing with McGregor is starting to stink.

Am I overly paranoid regarding the UFC?

But if you want to know the real Dana White think about this. He runs a 3+ billion dollar company and he pays the fighters peanuts. And now he's taken away the right of sponsorship from the fighters. They guy is exceptionally greedy and controlling.

I'll end it here because this is a thread about the fight and not Dana White.


#18

My thoughts too!

I feel Edgar would be a harder matchup for a few reasons:
1a) He seems to have the best gas tank of the division. If someone could get Conor in the championship rounds, he would be it. This would contribute to 2.
1b) Conor is a counterfighter at hearth. Someone who keeps composure will make far less faults on average. Someone who can keep a steady pace for the full fight wouldn't be someone who desperatly tries to finish.

2a) His fight IQ seems higher then Chads. He seems to easily adapt to his opponent. Conor is also a fighter who adapts to crack the case. Would be intresting.
2b) His fight IQ (and self-preservation) also make me think he wouldn't do anything too risky. I don't see him darting in madly after a spinning kick and getting clocked. He might not be the exciting finisher every casual fan craves, but in the spectrum of risk-reward, he really found the spot that eliminates most risk, and still gives the win.

I feel whatever Mendes does against Mcgregor, it wouldnt be in the last rounds. They both are some of the better finishers in the lighter weights top of the heap.
Fat chance the Notorious wants to hang in there see how his takedown defense holds up to a top wrestler.
Fat chance Money wants to find out how many shots he can take of the divisions most promising power puncher.
They want eachother cold, or at least that is what I figured.

Unrelated to how I view Conor, I hope him to win. With a finish. After Mendes tested his (anti-)wrestling. It would be great to establish him. If he loses now, sentiments like "Not legit after all" to "Can't defeat a wrestler" and "I told you so" will be echoing for years probabley.

If he beats Mendes he both gets another shot at Aldo soon, and he may get some room to lose after that. He shown he can crack a top notch wrestler so that will be out of question a great deal. That would make fights with wrestlers safer for Conor and the UFC.


#19

Same shit has been going on pretty much since combat sports became a business, I'd argue its much less of a problem with UFC today than it has been in the past, both boxing and MMA (e.g. Pride). Of course they want McGregor to win, but if the best they can do to ensure that is for Aldo to fake injury and give the fight to Mendes instead of Edgar then I wouldn't really applaud their effort. It's not like he is fighting some barely top 10 guy for the tittle, Mendes is legit and one of the best guys in the division and there seems to be no clear consensus in the rankings on whether him or Frankie is the nr 2 guy behind Aldo.

I also doubt that Mendes would let UFC know he has a knee injury with no fight scheduled in the near future. What they have done to maximize his chances of winning is basically providing him with the facilities in which to have his ridiculously expensive training camp and probably access to whatever resources he needs, I doubt they are paying for Mendes to take a dive and I doubt they would pay for Aldo to fake injury after all the buildup and hype they did for this card. I also highly doubt that Aldo would be willing to give up a 7 figure payday if he really wasn't too hurt to fight.

Dana White is hardly anything but a muppet who likes to act important and swear in front of cameras - his stake in the business is small compared to Fertitas and he doesn't even attend any business meetings etc., I doubt he has much say in making the big decisions and it is his job to simply belittle everyone who will question those decisions.


#20

I realy doubt they would ket Aldo fake an injury so Mendes can step up.
Aldo thrives against wrestlers, and Conor is no wrestler.
We don't now how Conor handles wrestlers, and Mendes is one of the best.
I give Conor more chances against Aldo then a disciplined, wrestling Mendes.

Aldo does great against wrestlers because one of his strengths are countering a level change. That isn't really of great help against Mcgregors opus moderandi.

Also I'm intrested in how Aldo's low kicks work out against Mcgregor. He got to switch kick or use lead leg kicks to aim for the outside of the thigh. A right low kick against Conor isn't fun: not great against southpaws with a internally rotated stance.

As a last recommendation to Chad before tonight: Low kick Mcgregor with a switch kick the moment he moves backwards, but keep your hands glued to your jaw, don't get countered. Conor WILL adapt. Sacrifice some power for safety.
And wrestle. No diving at hips, but punish Conor when he tries to get close or leaves a kick out too long.
You know what, dive at some hips! Smack him on his back if he tries to land a jumping knee. High kick him, and get a double when he highers his stance. Stomp his knee like he and JBJ like to do, and when the stance narrows and the weight comes of the lead leg, shoot for a double, right off an overhand.

Get in a body lock and drag him down like Romero. Blast an overhand into running knee tap like Frankie. Get him to the fence, blast of, and when there is a hint of return, drag those hips out. Hammer his solar plexus, liver and spleen when you get him down. Break those ribs and let him carry your weight. Make this cocky bastard hesitate. He must doubt if he should sprawl or move, he must doubt if he can make the last round because every fiber in his body stings of fatigue. read in motivational old man voice

We've never seen Conor desperate. Making him desperate would reveal if we have Hall-of-fame material, even a champ, or a spoiled prodigy.