Unfortunately, MMA fans will no longer get to watch the highly anticipated Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo fight at UFC 189, but the replacement bout has just as much potential for fireworks. McGregor will now face Chad Mendes on one weeks’ notice for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s interim featherweight title.
Here are my UFC 189 Predictions:
Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes
McGregor’s critics have been rather vocal about the fact the Irishman is yet to face an accomplished wrestler, and he’ll get to prove his skills against just that at UFC 189. Mendes was a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler, and he has significantly improved his striking in the past couple of years.
Still, McGregor (17-2-0, 15 KOs) should have a distinct advantage during the standup exchanges, so it will make a lot more sense for Mendes (17-2-0, 7 KOs) to grind him down.
Mendes will be the best wrestler McGregor has ever faced at UFC 189, and the fast-talking pride of Ireland will be in a world of trouble if Mendes is able to ground him, or at least pin him against the cage.
I don’t see that happening though.
While casual MMA fans might have been distracted with McGregor’s trash talk, “The Notorious” has earned every drop of the hype surrounding him with a series of impressive performances. He displayed solid offensive wrestling skills against Max Holloway, made it clear he is a special striker during his bouts against Diego Brandão and Dustin Poirier, then displayed solid takedown defense during his fight against Dennis Siver.
Mendes might be able to sneak in a takedown here and there at UFC 189, but it’s hard to see him pinning McGregor down for significant amounts of time during their five-rounder.
That means a majority of this fight will be contested standing.
That’s very, very good for McGregor.
Prediction: Conor McGregor wins via TKO.
Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald
Lawler (25-10-0, 19 KOs) pulled of the upset the last time these two met, edging out a split decision. “Ruthless” got the better of the striking exchanges, but MacDonald (18-2-0, 7 KOs) kept things close with takedowns. Robbie has been even more impressive since his win against MacDonald, most importantly, winning the welterweight title with a split decision against Johny Hendricks.
This will be Lawler’s first title defense, so motivation won’t be an issue. He’s also spent 50 minutes total since he faced Rory practicing his takedown defense against a much better wrestler in Johny Hendricks, so he should do a better job of keeping the fight upright this time around.
MacDonald is a well-rounded MMA fighter that is capable of beating any welterweight when he brings his A-game, but like he did during their previous tilt, he’ll likely have a hard time dealing with Lawler’s aggression and willingness to trade shots.
Prediction: Lawler wins via KO.
Remaining UFC 189 predictions:
Dennis Bermudez defeats Jeremy Stephens
Brandon Thatch defeats Gunnar Nelson
Thomas Almeida defeats Brad Pickett
Matt Brown defeats Tim Means
Mike Swick defeats Alex Garcia
John Howard defeats Cathal Pendred
Neil Seery defeats Louis Smolka
Cody Pfister defeats Yosdenis Cedeno
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.
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Don’t forget to check out my UFC 189 FightPicks shortly before the prelims start. Up +10.32 units so far this year.