Alexander Volkanovski vs. Chad Mendes
|Date & Time||Saturday December 29, 2018, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Alexander Volkanovski +133 / Chad Mendes -147 -- Over/Under:
Chad Mendes and Alexander Volkanovski fight Saturday during UFC 232 at the T-Mobile Arena.
Chad Mendes enters this fight with a 18-4 record and has won 44 percent of his fights by decision. Mendes has split his last six fights and is coming off a July win over Myles Jury. Mendes is averaging 2.76 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 49 percent. Mendes is averaging 4.08 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 54 percent. Mendes fought for the first time in two in and a half years after serving a suspension, and he produced a first round knockout, earning performance of the night. It was Mendes’ first win since his 2015 bout against Ricardo Lamas and a performance that certainly has to have his confidence quite high. As for his ability overall, Mendes is one of the better wrestlers in this division, as he has a very aggressive takedown attack and has never been finished on the canvas. Mendes has also won eight of his nine career decisions. However, it’s now quite clear Mendes’ striking ability can’t be overlooked, as he’s quite accurate with his hands and does land 32 percent of his strikes on the ground. Mendes will put this whole division on notice with another victory in 2018 after such a hiatus. This will be Mendes’ seventh career fight in Las Vegas.
Alexander Volkanovski enters this fight with a 18-1 record and has won 56 percent of his fights by knockout. Volkanovski has won each of his last 15 fights and is coming off a July win over Darren Elkins. Volkanovski is averaging 6.09 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 63 percent. Volkanovski is averaging 3.87 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 41 percent. Volkanovski has produced decision victories in three of his last four bouts and has a chance to end the year with his third victory in 2018. Volkanovski is 5-0 under the UFC banner and hasn’t lost a fight in his career since the 2013 bout against Corey Nelson. Volkanovski is a quality takedown artist who has 16 takedowns in five fights and has landed 39 percent of his strikes on the ground. Volkanovski is quite accurate with his strikes overall and is also dangerous in the clinch. Volkanovski simply gets the fight whenever he wants it and is conditioned for the long haul, as his fights are averaging over 12 minutes. However, we’ll learn more about Volkanovski in this bout considering this is easily his biggest test yet. This will be Volkanovski’s second career fight in the United States.
Volkanovski is still proving himself since leaving the Australia fighting scene, and he has yet to fight somebody with the balance and quality of Mendes, who shouldn’t allow the Aussie to control the pace of this fight and has the power to end things with one minor mistake. Mendes is excellent with his takedown defense, and that’s going to force Volkanovski to approach things a little differently. We just haven’t seen enough from Volkanovski against top tier fighters to think he’s going to be able to pass this test.
I’m going to back Mendes to win his second fight since his return.