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UFC Fight Night 63 fight card: Chad Mendes vs Ricardo Lamas fight preview

Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas will clash this Saturday afternoon (April 4, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 63 inside the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia. In a battle of former title challengers, what adjustments must be made for either man in order to claim victory? Find out how below!

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweights Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas will go to war this Saturday (April 4, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 63 on FOX Sports 1 from inside the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia.

The last time Mendes entered the Octagon, it resulted in a "Fight of the Year"-winning battle with featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo. After coming up short but giving Aldo the toughest test of his career, Mendes will look to get back into immediate title contention by taking out a fellow top-five scrapper.

Lamas also lost his title bid to "Scarface" about a year ago and has been making his way back to the top. In addition to a competitive win over Hacran Dias, Lamas put a quick stop to the rise of Dennis Bermudez in his last performance.

Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both fighters.

Chad Mendes

Record: 16-2

Key Wins: Nik Lentz (UFC on FOX 9), Clay Guida (UFC 164), Cub Swanson (WEC 50)

Key Losses: Jose Aldo (UFC 142, UFC 179)

Keys to Victory: Mendes is one of the finest athletes in the sport. While he's been a powerful wrestler since the genesis of his career, his kickboxing has really developed in the last couple years, resulting in six knockout victories.

In his second championship battle with Aldo, Mendes revealed the full extend of his kickboxing game. Showing power in both hands and low kicks, Mendes went toe-to-toe with one of the best strikers in the sport's history for five rounds, with both men landing hard shots.

With that performance in mind, his path to victory is pretty clear. Rather than wrestle with Lamas -- which he can still choose to do if things get hairy on the feet -- Mendes should hunt for the knockout.

Mendes is simply more advanced technically and much more dynamic on his feet than Lamas. He definitely has to be wary, as Lamas is a very crafty fighter, but he should be able to overwhelm his opponent with power punches.

If Lamas hangs tough, Mendes needs to be careful not to exhaust himself, as it's a five-round fight. To that end, he can time a few blast double legs and recover while Lamas looks to return to his feet, which will also score him some points if it goes to the judges.

Ricardo Lamas

Record: 15-3

Key Wins: Dennis Bermudez (UFC 180), Cub Swanson (UFC on FOX 1), Hacran Dias (UFC Fight Night 44)

Key Losses: Jose Aldo (UFC 169)

Keys to Victory: An extremely well-rounded fighter, Lamas is very often overlooked. However, he's finished multiple featherweight contenders despite the official odds being stacked against him.

Speaking of, the betting odds are once again not on his side, and for what appear to be good reasons. Lamas is not to be counted out, but he'll definitely have to make something big happen in order to upset "Money."

If Lamas does have an advantage, it's his ability to push the pace for five hard rounds. Mendes showed he can also fight the full 25 minutes, but he needs time to recover before he can return to exploding into strikes or a takedown.

To take advantage of that, Lamas needs to constantly make Mendes work. While he could attempt to do that on his feet, it would be safer for him to force constant wrestling exchanges. Plus, it could potentially open up a submission, which is likely his best chance at securing a victory.

Bottom Line: Along with the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber, the victor here is most deserving of a featherweight title shot. In addition to the title implications, this is almost certain to be a very entertaining fight.

Despite the fact that Mendes has a pair of losses to Aldo, he's really not that far from a third shot. Their bout last November was not only very close, but it was extremely entertaining. With that in mind, this could in fact be a number one contender's bout for Mendes, particularly if Faber takes out "The Answer."

On the other hand, consecutive losses would be a major step back for Mendes. While he'd still be near the top of the division, it would take a pretty impressive win streak before he was back in title contention.

Lamas has done a fine job rebuilding since his loss to Aldo, which was more necessary for him considering how decisive his loss to Aldo was. Were he to defeat Mendes, "The Bully" would have a very strong bid towards a second title shot.

If Lamas does lose to Mendes, he's in a pretty tough position, having losses to the top two ranked featherweights in the world.

At UFC Fight Night 63, Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas are set to battle in Saturday's five-round main event. Which man will have his hand raised?

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