The inappropriately named UFC Fight Night: Mendes vs. Lamas card takes place this Saturday morning and features a bevvy of fights that you won’t want to miss. In an interesting stylistic match-up, former title challengers Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas meet in the night’s headliner. For breakdowns and predictions of the entire fight card take a look below.
Featherweight Bout: #1 Chad Mendes (16-2) vs. #4 Ricardo Lamas (15-3)
The night’s main event pits two men at eerily similar points in their careers. Both have only lost to current champion Jose Aldo at 145 pounds and may face a long road back to a title shot. For Mendes, the road may be a bit shorter considering his last bout with Aldo was a five round Fight of the Year candidate. On the other hand, Lamas looked lost against Aldo and probably has very few fans clamoring to see him get another shot at the belt. The UFC is likely hoping for a Mendes victory in this fight and I think they will get it. Lamas is a fighter who can perform extremely well in every aspect of MMA, but so is Mendes. Everything Lamas can do, Mendes can do better. I think both fighters will meet in the center of the Octagon and throw leather until Mendes ultimately lands a fight ending blow.
Prediction: Chad Mendes to defeat Ricardo Lamas by knockout in round two.
Lightweight Bout: #14 Jorge Masvidal (28-8) vs. #15 Al Iaquinta (11-3-1)
A large portion of this bout hangs on whether Masvidal has taken Iaquinta as a legitimate opponent. The Florida native has been vocal about losing big time opponent Ben Henderson only to have him be replaced by surging, but not quite known, Iaquinta. I believe that Masvidal hasn’t taken this fight seriously and it will show come fight night. The former Strikeforce title challenger came in overweight at the weigh-ins and has seemed non-chalant about Iaquinta all week. Iaquinta has improved leaps and bounds since his time on the Ultimate Fighter and Masvidal will learn that first hand come Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Al Iaquinta to defeat Jorge Masvidal by decision.
Lightweight Bout: Michael Chiesa (11-2) vs. Mitch Clarke (11-2)
Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Chiesa will look to get back on track on Saturday night against a returning Mitch Clarke. Clarke has been out of action for nearly a year and was last seen choking out Al Iaquinta. Chiesa’s last bout was a TKO loss due to cuts against veteran Joe Lauzon. Techincally speaking, this bout favors Chiesa in every category. Chiesa is the much larger man with a more varied grappling arsenal and better striking. This fight should be a blowout.
Prediction: Michael Chiesa to defeat Mitch Clarke by submission in round one.
Women’s Bantamweight Bout: #13 Julianna Pena (5-2) vs. Miliana Dudieva (11-3)
Julianna Pena will look to make a successful return to the UFC when she takes on Miliana Dudieva. Pena is a much stronger wrestler than Dudieva and that will be where she wins the fight. Dudieva looked decent against Pena’s teammate Elizabeth Phillips in her UFC debut, but the Ultimate Fighter winner will likely run a grappling clinic this Saturday.
Prediction: Julianna Pena to defeat Miliana Dudieva by submission in round two.
Featherweight Bout: #12 Clay Guida (31-15) vs. Robbie Peralta (18-5, 1 no contest)
In another one sided bout, Clay Guida will take on Robbie Peralta. Peralta may have a chance on the feet but this bout will be decided on the ground.
Prediction: Clay Guida to defeat Robbie Peralta via unanimous decision.