No. 1-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight Chad Mendes looked to extend is impressive win streak to four against No. 9-ranked Clay Guida on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card of last night's (Aug. 31, 2013) UFC 164 from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Mendes had been on a tear as of late, destroying his last three opponents with strikes to get back to top contender status. To do it a fourth time in a row, he had to accomplish something no man had ever done inside a mixed martial arts (MMA) cage, and that's finish Clay Guida via (technical) knockout.
"Money" cashed in big last night by doing just that (watch full video highlights here).
Utilizing a stand up game that's apparently reached a new level thanks to the tutelage of new Team Alpha Male head striking coach Duane Ludwig, Mendes showed the reason he's achieved his lofty status. Let's take a look at how Mendes dispatched longtime Lightweight stalwart Guida from BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Mendes and Guida began to throw leather early on in their fight, with Mendes looking to adjust to Guida's style on the fly. Mendes soon implemented his excellent grappling and wrestling when he locked up the first round by attempting a guillotine choke and securing a takedown towards the end of the frame.
The fight resembled a wrestling match at times, with each fighter sprawling out to avoid being taken down. Although Guida didn't appear to be doing much damage, he never let up on his unrelenting pace, moving forward the entire time. Mendes showed an excellent ability to adapt, and it came to fruition in the third round.
When the final frame kicked off, Mendes hit Guida flush with a massive right hand that sent him falling to the canvas. After an uppercut found its deadly mark, Guida was left stunned and defenseless while Mendes' win streak rolled onto its fourth (technical) knockout victory in a row.
While the striking stoppage may have been a slightly unexpected result, most favored Mendes to win this fight. There's really nowhere for him to go right now in his division but to a title shot. Problem is, division champ Jose Aldo has already finished him.
That may be the only loss on Mendes' record, but it's tough to get a rematch with an opponent who finished you like that.
To make matters more complicated, Aldo is currently on the shelf on the mend from a broken foot suffered at UFC 163 earlier this month. There's not an exact timetable set for his return, so Mendes could be left in too long of a holding pattern if he has his mind set on facing Aldo.
There are some great fights available at Featherweight against Frankie Edgar, Cub Swanson and Ricardo Lamas. Everyone wants to get a title shot next, so this division is quickly getting congested with top-flight contenders.
That doesn't bode well for Guida, who sits at 1-1 since making the cut down to Featherweight. Being finished via technical knockout will take a bit of the luster off his image, but he's been in there with the best and finally just got caught. Maybe a bout with Erik Koch could turn out to be an entertaining match. Both will likely fall out of the Top 10 when the next set of rankings debuts.
It could be a tough job for "The Carpenter" to find his footing in the deep 145-pound talent pool.
Mendes did the unthinkable, finishing off Guida with strikes at UFC 164. Is it title shot or bust for this rolling No. 1 contender?