It was a fight pegged as a huge mismatch on paper last night (July 7, 2012) as number two ranked featherweight Chad Mendes took on debuting 145-er Cody McKenzie on the main card of UFC 148 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and this time, the critics got it spot on.
Chad Mendes hadn't finished a fight in over two years and was on a run of four straight unanimous decision victories.
Well that streak officially ended last night after Mendes put "The AK Kid" away well inside the first minute of the main card bout.
So how did Mendes get back on the finishing track? And what happens next for both men?
Follow me after the jump for our Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie post-fight review and analysis:
Mendes came out throwing heat early, winging a right hand and after closing the distance, blasting the lankier McKenzie with a knee to the body.
A snapping leg kick nearly knocked "The AK Kid" off his feet but McKenzie kept his chin down and fired back with some head kicks that were either blocked or avoided.
What happened next, though, I'm sure he wished had been avoided.
McKenzie tossed out another leg kick, but this time, Mendes caught it and then threw a perfectly placed right hand square to the liver and the The Ultimate Fighter season 12 veteran dropped like a sack of potatoes. After a few hammerfists from "Money" Mendes, the referee was forced to intervene and that was all she wrote.
For Cody McKenzie, he has no one to blame but UFC matchmakers for offering him this fight and himself for accepting it. He's fun to watch, capable of putting away enough guys on the UFC roster to stick around, but he was nowhere near Mendes' level and it was a fight that never should have been made. That being said, he's got to protect his body more. This is the second time (counting the Nam Phan loss on TUF) that he's been crippled in a fight with a body strike and if he doesn't protect his body better, it's going to be a huge target for all future opponents.
For Chad Mendes, this was exactly the type of statement he needed to make after a very poor showing against Jose Aldo earlier this year. He's still the number two featherweight in the world and he looked like it last night with that destruction of McKenzie. It was nice to see some finishing instincts out of him especially considering the mismatch and perhaps this is a sign of things to come as "Money" continues to improve his skillset.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Did this fight go exactly as expected? Did any of you predict that Mendes could finish the fight so quickly on the feet like he did? What would you like to do with him next?