So. Jose Aldo is out of UFC 189 with a rib injury and the much anticipated fight between Conor McGregor and the long reigning king of the featherweight division is off. Yes, it’s a little disappointing but in some ways the new matchup between McGregor and late replacement Chad Mendes for the interim title is even more interesting.
Ok, that might be a stretch but this new matchup does offer a good deal of saving grace for the card. It’s an interesting matchup that pits an outstanding, fast and athletic wrestler against an outstanding, fast and athletic striker. What makes it even more interesting is that it represents McGregor’s first true test against elite competition.
If McGregor does get the win, it will make his challenge against Aldo way more interesting. Passing the serious test that Mendes presents will make for a super fight against the current champion, Jose Aldo. If Mendes gets the win, we’ll likely be looking at Mendes-Aldo III.
Where to Bet on UFC 189
I would like to submit three recommendations for placing your bets on the Chad Mendes vs. Conor McGregor fight:
And below are the odds for the fight and various outcomes. Most betting sites have yet to open any markets other than betting on the winner, but BetVictor and William Hill both have an assortment of wagers on the method of victory and length of the bout. Here’s a look at the odds for those:
|BetVictor Odds||William Hill Odds|
|Fight to Go the Distance|
|Method of Vicotry|
|Chad Mendes by KO/TKO/DQ||4/1||4/1|
|Chad Mendes by Decision||3/1||10/3|
|Chad Mendes by Submission||8/1||9/1|
|Draw or Technical Draw||50/1||-|
|Conor McGregor by KO/TKO/DQ||1/1||5/6|
|Conor McGregor by Decision||13/2||6/1|
|Conor McGregor by Submission||8/1||10/1|
|Conor to Win in Rd 1||3/1||11/4|
|Conor to Win in Rd 2||5/1||9/2|
|Conor to Win in Rd 3||8/1||8/1|
|Conor to Win in Rd 4||14/1||12/1|
|Conor to Win in Rd 5||18/1||20/1|
|Conor to WIn Dec.||13/2||6/1|
|Chad to Win in Rd 1||8/1||7/1|
|Chad to Win in Rd 2||12/1||10/1|
|Chad to Win in Rd 3||16/1||14/1|
|Chad to Win in Rd 4||20/1||20/1|
|Chad to Win in Rd 5||25/1||25/1|
|Chad to Win Dec.||3/1||10/3|
If anyone has come close to dethroning Aldo, it is Chad Mendes. The 2x All American wrestler put up a 2014 fight-of-the-year-worthy performance in his five round rematch against Aldo. Mendes lost the decision, but he showed incredible determination and skill in a back-and-forth fight that showcased his worthiness among the top ranks of the division.
Mendes displays greatness in both his standup and his ground game. He has a full highlight reel of knockouts, takedowns and finishes. Few people have touched Aldo in the face as much as Mendes did in their second fight. All the evidence indicates that Mendes is an extremely well-rounded fighter.
Meanwhile, Conor McGregor has displayed incredible skills in the standup department. He is one of the most relaxed fighters I’ve ever seen and is endlessly creative in his approach. He’s not afraid to throw spinning heel kicks and flying knees. He can knock people out while backing up. His length and unorthodox fighting style have consistently befuddled opponents in the cage.
The only thing about all this is that McGregor is still a bit of an unknown entity. I don’t mean to disparage any of his opponents, but he hasn’t been put to the serious test yet and he certainly hasn’t faced a wrestler as skilled as Mendes. When Mendes puts people on the ground, he tends to close the deal right there with vicious ground and pound.
On the other hand, McGregor’s performances have been so dominant that we cannot simply discount him as an unknown and leave it at that. In his five fights so far in the UFC, he has only seen a decision once (two years ago). You don’t win five in a row in the UFC with four finishes just by being average.
We have seen glimpses of McGregor’s ground game in previous fights. He has successfully defended 100% of takedowns in his UFC career (although Dennis Siver did manage to get him to the ground for a second) and claims to be just as comfortable on the ground as he is on the feet. We just don’t quite have overwhelming evidence one way or another. I’m sure we’ll find out on July 11th.
What Puts Mendes at Risk
The unknown factor. If McGregor displays excellent takedown defense against the admirable wrestling of Mendes, McGregor will put Mendes to the test with a fighting style that’s hard to train for. Will McGregor’s unique, southpaw striking throw Mendes off his game? If so, expect an early stoppage.
Mendes is at a massive reach disadvantage of 8 inches. This will limit the effectiveness of his respectable jab and make it difficult to close the distance for the takedown. If McGregor stymies the takedown and frustrates Mendes, it could spell doom for the American.
What Puts McGregor at Risk
McGregor has yet to face a wrestler of Chad’s caliber. If Mendes puts McGregor down and keeps him there, Mendes will either seal the deal with GnP or grind out a long, boring, ground-humping victory. McGregor will also have to show that he can deal with the speed and competence of Chad’s standup game.
His characteristic wide stance could put his lead leg in danger of the takedown. You dangle a leg like that in front of an All American Wrestler and you play with fire. McGregor’s TDD better be on point at UFC 189.
The best matchups are always so difficult to pick. The odds don’t seem to indicate much confidence either way on behalf of the best MMA bookmakers. McGregor is such a slight favorite that the odds could just be a reflection of anticipated betting action from McGregor’s huge fan base.
McGregor’s fighting style is the type that can make any prediction look stupid. Strikers of his ilk can end a fight at any second. What makes it even more difficult to predict the outcome is the fact that McGregor has yet to face someone as accomplished as Mendes.
Mendes hasn’t shown nearly the knockout power that McGregor has at his disposal. We also shouldn’t forget that Mendes is taking this fight on about a two-week notice. Furthermore, both of Chad Mendes’ losses to Jose Aldo were partially a result of Aldo using his superior striking to stymie the takedown game. We can expect to see McGregor look to do the same.
If I really had to put money on the line, I would reluctantly back McGregor. He has shown incredible skill up to now and even though he has not faced anyone with Chad’s wrestling credentials, I think he has a pretty good shot at keeping the fight standing and using his range and unorthodox style to put a beating on Mendes. The odds are so close that you’re not giving up any value to take the favorite in this matchup.