UFC 148 brings us a main-card consisting of 4 featherweights all vying for top 5 spot in the rankings. How will Chad Mendes rebound from his first official loss at the hands of featherweight champion Jose Aldo, and who comes out ahead in one of the more evenly matched fights on the card between Mike Easton and Ivan Menjivar.
UFC 148 Picks: Main Card Wrap-up
Featherweight Contender Scrap: Mike
Easton vs. Ivan Menjivar
Two featherweights on the cusp of a title shot collide on the main card as
Mike Easton squares off against the Canadian-Salvadoran, Ivan Menjivar in the upcoming UFC 148.
Easton’s hype took a recent hit due to his latest performance failing to
validate his -400 pricetag over Jared Papazian.
In the Papazian fight, he showed vulnerability in the clinch at times and
proved that his punching power may be a tad overrated. There were several
instances where he was reversed and controlled against the cage, where he was
eating entirely too many short elbows on the inside -- a strike that Ivan lands
with particular efficiency, as was evident in his knockout victory over Charlie
Though the striking was fairly even for all three rounds, Mike did appear to
land the harder, cleaner strikes. He showcased an excellent counter left hook
on the inside while also utilizing it to expertly cut the cage off anytime
Jared attempted to circle away. In the third round was where he landed his
finely tuned strike of the fight, as he connected with a beautifully executed
step-back right cross, which I feel is a bit on of underutilized punch in his
arsenal. The accuracy and delivery behind it probably impressed me more than
anything else Mike landed in that fight.
For the most part in that fight his takedown attempts were ineffective, but
he did show his ability to quickly time and snatch onto a strong body lock
several times in the match.
Considering Ivan was taken down in both the first and second round against
Nick Pace, I see potential for Easton to steal rounds with late takedowns and
maybe even positionally dominate if he scores one early in the frame. Ivan even
briefly gave up his back against Pace and has found himself in bad positions on
the mat against inferior grapplers to Easton, who’s a black belt in Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu under Lloyd Irvin. That said, I see any kind of grappling edge for Easton
being mostly negated by a solid grappler himself in Menjivar.
I see Ivan possessing several key striking advantages in this match-up.
First off, he definitely has the more accurate and stabilizing jab. He loves
to initiate exchanges with his big overhand right and often doubles his right
hook to the body and head.
Then there’s his more active and diverse kicking game that Easton has to
worry about. Menjivar utilizes a strong push kick, accurate head kicks delivered
from both legs, and some really nasty outside leg kicks. These rangier type
kicks all have the potential to be the difference in a close round.
This is a match-up where I’d be content getting either guy as a small to
medium sized underdog. However, I think the most likely scenario is Easton’s
hype train continuously cranking out inflated prices until he officially takes
a loss inside the UFC. So my official UFC pick is on whoever opens at +125 or
higher, which I feel is slightly more likely to be Menjivar.
Possible play on Menjivar…..Future update once the
line is released
Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie
Heading into his UFC 148 match against the previous number one featherweight
contender, Cody McKenzie is expected to be the largest underdog on the entire UFC 148 Fight Card.
Prior to his most recent fight against Marcus LeVesseur, Cody had lost two
straight and was clearly on his way to being cut from the UFC.
However, after losing the majority of the first round, McKenzie was again
able to survive the early onslaught and lock in his signature guillotine choke
for the victory. It was a fight where Cody Mckenzie opened as a small favorite
and ended up closing and cashing as +160 underdog.
As one of Team Alpha Male’s most constantly drilled submissions, one of the
more troubling issues for Cody in this fight is how renowned their fighters are
for both their guillotine choke defense, and attempts. Also, you have to factor
in the fact that Cody has to deal with trying lock it in on someone with a much
shorter, stouter neck than he’s accustomed to.
Considering there were several times where Mendes willingly entered the
guard of a prominent grappler like Rani Yahya, I think we could see him look
for the odd takedown just to keep Cody
off balance and possibly soften him up with some brief ground and pound.
I think it’s clear that the UFC is giving this particular fight to Chad
solely for the purpose of rebuilding his confidence after suffering his first
knockout against Jose Aldo at UFC 142. Look for Chad to safely grind out a
methodical three round decision as he successfully reenters the featherweight
UFC Pick: Chad Mendes