The UFC is sounding its war drums as they prepare to return to Brazil, where they will be hailed as conquering heroes. UFC 142 goes down on January 14th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event is headlined with a Featherweight title fight, where Champion Jose Aldo will defend his title for the first time in the country of his birth as he takes on challenger Chad Mendes. The UFC will also start taping the first season of their ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality show to be taped in Brazil. The coaches are Brazilian icons Vitor Belfort and Vanderlei Silva, and they will fight each other for the shows grand finale. Belfort-Silva is a rematch of the famous 1999 bout that occurred at the first ever UFC in the country.
As we head into the fight, Aldo is over a 2 to 1 favorite over Mendes in the fight. Aldo has always appeared very disciplined, and training with Nova Uniao is always serious business. I am looking to see the best version of Jose Aldo we have seen yet. A veteran fighter from a veteran camp can handle the pressures f headlining at home. putting of the spoils for later.
For Mendes’ part, his style is such that if he is going to win this fight, it will likely be by decision. Seven of his eleven fights have gone the distance, which means he isn’t a big finisher, and will have to control Aldo for a full twenty five minutes in this title bout. Fighting a perfect twenty five minutes against a fighter like Aldo is a tall order, so I’m picking Aldo to put the first blemish on Mendes’ record.
Vitor Belfort‘s match with Anthony Johnson sees Belfort as the favorite. Belfort’s career history shows repeatedly that he is long on talent, and just falls short in some of the intangibles. Well, at this late point in his career, the UFC has given Belfort more stability than he has had at any point in his career. Headlining at home for the first time since 1999, Belfort is at peace. He also has the comfort of knowing he is booked for the UFC’s debut season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ Brazil reality show, and has another match scheduled after this one against rival coach Vanderlei Silva. Johnson will do well to survive the first few minutes of the match, and he will have to fight a perfect fight in order to win, and against a Belfort that is comfortble right now, I don’t think he ca do it.
Let’s check in after the weigh ins, see how everybody looks after the trip and the weight cuts….