UFC 142 Rio: Aldo vs. Mendes – Preview, Fighter Quotes & Event Coverage
By Justin Bolduc
This weekend the UFC returns to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with UFC 142. In the main event featherweight king Jose Aldo looks to defend his UFC crown against undefeated Chad Mendes, while former UFC champion and PRIDE veteran Vitor Belfort faces Anthony Johnson in the co-main event.
The main card, airing on pay-per-view, also features fan favorite and sometimes headcase Rousimar Palhares against Mike Massenzio. Additionally, mixed martial arts veteran Carlo Prater steps in as a replacement for Siyar Bahadurzada to face Erick Silva and Edson Barboza meets England’s Terry Etim.
The preliminary card is split, with one bout between former Shooto stand-out Antonio Carvalho and Felipe Arantes appearing on the UFC’s official Facebook page and the remaining four bouts airing on FX.
The first FX bout pits top-twenty ranked Mike Pyle against Ricardo Funch, who steps in to replace Paulo Thiago, followed up by Sengoku’s Featherweight Grand Prix semi-finalist Michihiro Omigawa’s bout with Yuri Alcantara. One-time UFC heavyweight contender Gabriel Gonzaga returns to the UFC as a replacement for Rob Broughton against Ednaldo Oliveira. The final preliminary bout pits Thiago Tavares against Sam Stout in PDG’s Match-Up of the Night.
Jose Aldo (20-1) vs. Chad Mendes (11-0)
UFC Featherweight Championship
Jose Aldo (2-0 UFC) entered the UFC as the promotion’s first featherweight champion after reigning as king of the WEC. Aldo enters Saturday’s bout on an impressive thirteen-fight win streak, including wins in each of his eight WEC appearances.
After earning impressive stoppages over Alexandre Franca Nogueira, TUF winner Jonathan Brookins, Rolando Perez, and Chris Mickle, Aldo stepped up to face Cub Swanson, finishing the highly-regarded fighter in a mere eight seconds. Aldo then challenged Mike Brown for the WEC title, finishing the American Top Team fighter with ground and pound in the second round. Aldo then successfully defended his title twice by outclassing Urijah Faber and knocking out Manny Gamburyan.
Aldo then transitioned to the UFC where he out-pointed Mark Hominick in a tough, ugly fight. Most recently he out-pointed former lightweight contender Kenny Florian to extend his win streak to thirteen. In twenty professional victories Aldo has earned fourteen by TKO, knockout, or submission.
Chad Mendes (2-0 UFC) joined the UFC, like Aldo, after the WEC merger. Undefeated in eleven professional outings, Mendes earned four victories in the WEC before joining the UFC ranks. Mendes trains at Team Alpha Male alongside former WEC champion Urijah Faber.
Mendes entered mixed martial arts with a strong background in wrestling, showcasing his abilities in his WEC debut with a win over Erik Koch. Mendes then stopped Anthony Morrison with a guillotine choke before out-pointing highly-regarded Cub Swanson and Javier Vasquez.
In his UFC debut Mendes outworked Sengoku’s Featherweight Grand Prix semi-finalist Michihiro Omigawa before most recently outclassing Rani Yahya to earn number one contender status. Mendes has earned four of his 11 career wins by TKO, KO, or submission.
Main Event Fighter Quotes:
Jose Aldo – “Wow! The way the fans were chanting my name at the open workouts at Barr de Tijuca Beach, cheering, trying to get pictures with me, it was incredible. Everyone knows my story, how I grew up, and to make it to this type of stage feels great. Chad Mendes is a tough challenger, but this is the fight I’ve wanted for a long time. He’s the number one contender and I love the challenge.”
Chad Mendes – “We’ve worked on the height and reach advantage Aldo holds in camp, particularly in getting ready for his striking. Without giving away too much strategy, I am really confident in my ability to take this fight where I want it. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for since I was a kid. A few years ago, I’d never fought outside of California. Saturday, I’m walking into the Octagon in Rio and I’m planning on leaving with the UFC featherweight title.”
Vitor Belfort (20-9) vs. Anthony Johnson (10-3)
Vitor Belfort (9-5 UFC) has always been a fan favorite despite inconsistent performances. Fans across the world show up in hopes of catching a glimpse of the “old Vitor” who would blitz opponents with blistering hands and punishing aggression. Since rejoining the UFC in 2009, Belfort has gone 2-1, knocking out former UFC champion Rich Franklin and international superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama. The loss came sandwiched between the wins by knockout against current UFC champion Anderson Silva.
Belfort was able to go on a four-fight win streak to find his way back into the UFC ranks. Belfort knocked out Ivan Serati before out-pointing James Zikic in Cage Rage before joining Affliction. Under the clothing brand’s umbrella Belfort knocked out Terry Martin and Matt Lindland in brutal fashion.
The PRIDE veteran owns two wins by submission and fourteen by TKO. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is often credited with the fastest hands in the sport and has knocked out some of the best in the world including Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, Matt Lindland, and Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Anthony Johnson (7-3 UFC) steps up to middleweight after competing at welterweight for his entire UFC career. Often considered the physically largest welterweight in the world, Johnson makes the move to middleweight as a one-time deal to face the legendary Belfort.
In his UFC debut Johnson knocked out Chad Reiner, but quickly lost momentum when he was submitted by Rich Clementi. Johnson then knocked out TUF finalist Tommy Speer before losing controversially to Kevin Burns. Returning from an eye injury Johnson knocked out Burns in a rematch in impressive fashion. Johnson continued his path of destruction with TKO stoppages over American Top Teams Luigi Fioravanti and Japan’s Yoshiyuki Yoshida.
Johnson then faced Josh Koscheck, losing by rear naked choke in the second round. Johnson returned strong however, using his wrestling to win a decision over Dan Hardy. Most recently Johnson stopped hot prospect Charlie Brenneman with a first round head kick at UFC Live 6.
Co-Main Event Fighter Quotes:
Vitor Belfort – “Man, I feel great. I’m relaxed, my weight is good, my preparations are coming together well. My next step might be determined already with (coaching) TUF Brasil, but I’m not looking past Anthony Johnson. Anthony is certainly a big fighter, but size isn’t everything. The king of the jungle is the lion, not the elephant.”
Anthony Johnson – “Vitor says he’s the lion and I love it. Before my granddad passed, he told me to always look across the cage as if there was a lion staring at me. When Vitor said he was the lion, I loved it. It’s provided the type of motivation I’m looking for. I’m going to go out there and have a good time with this. I’m not scared of him. Let me fight the lion.”
Thiago Tavares (16-4-1) vs. Sam Stout (17-6-1)
PDG’s Match-Up of the Night
Thiago Tavares (6-4-1 UFC) enters Saturday’s bout riding the biggest win of his career, having stopped Spencer Fisher with punches mid-way through the second round at UFC 134. Tavares has had his ups and downs in the UFC, but remains a strong fighter in the sport’s deepest division.
Tavares began his UFC career strong with wins over Naoyuki Kotani and Jason Black before suffering the first loss of his career against Tyson Griffin. After edging out Michihiro Omigawa, Tavares lost back-to-back bouts against Matt Wiman and Kurt Pellegrino.
Tavares then won a decision over Manny Gamburyan before fighting to a draw with Nik Lentz. He then stopped Pat Audinwood with a guillotine choke before suffering a knockout to WEC prospect Shane Roller. Tavares’ TKO over Fisher in his most recent bout marked the thirteenth stoppage of his career.
Sam Stout (6-5 UFC) has not performed quite as well in the UFC as he has in the now-defunct TKO, but he has established himself as one of the most exciting fighters on Zuffa’s roster. In eleven UFC appearances Stout has walked away with three fight of the night honors and one knockout of the night.
Stout began fighting for the UFC exclusively in 2008 and has gone 5-3 in that time. He opened the stretch with a decision over Per Eklund before losing back-to-back bouts against Rich Clementi and Terry Etim. Stout then earned a pair of decisions over Matt Wiman and Joe Lauzon.
Stout, who was a long-time student of the late Shawn Tompkins, then lost an exciting split decision against Jeremy Stephens. The Canadian was able to rebound with a split decision of his own over Paul Taylor before most recently knocking out Yves Edwards in the first round of their UFC 131 match-up.
*In one of the most anticipated match-ups on the card Brazil’s Edson Barboza (9-0) takes on England’s Terry Etim (15-3). Barboza (3-0 UFC) remains perfect in his mixed martial arts career, winning each of his nine bouts. Barboza stopped Mike Lullo with leg kicks in his UFC debut before winning a fight of the night performance against Anthony Njokuani at UFC 128. Most recently Barboza edged out a split decision over TUF winner Ross Pearson at UFC 134. Etim (6-3 UFC) enters Saturday’s bout coming in off a win over Edward Faaloloto by submission in only seventeen seconds. Etim has performed well in his UFC career and is a favorite amongst fans, but has yet to break into the upper ranks of the division.
*In the second bout of the night featuring a Brazilian versus a Brazilian, Carlo Prater (29-10-1) steps in as a replacement against Erick Silva (13-1, 1 NC). Prater enters his return to the UFC debut on a four-fight win streak, finishing each opponent by submission. Prater has faced some of the best in the world and owns notable career victories over Carlos Condit, Spencer Fisher, Keith Wisniewski, Pat Healy, and Melvin Guillard. Silva (1-0 UFC) enters his second UFC appearance on a four-fight win streak and having won nine of his last ten bouts. In his UFC debut the Team Nogueira prospect knocked out Luis Ramos in forty seconds.
*Rousimar Palhares (13-3) faces Mike Massenzio (13-5) on the main card in a bout which realistically is set up to showcase Palhares’ abilities and progress him in the ranks towards challenging Anderson Silva. “Toquinho” (6-2 UFC) is currently on a two-fight win streak, having stopped David Branch with a heel hook and outmatching Dan Miller in a decision. Palhares has earned submission victories in nine of his professional victories, including six leg locks. Massenzio (2-3 UFC) enters the bout being fed to the wolves, but is still a tough opponent, most recently defeating former WEC champion Steve Cantwell. Massenzio enters his bout with Palhares on a mission, inches from the chopping block but riding momentum over the biggest win of his career.
UFC 142 Fight Card
Main Card (PPV):
Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes (UFC Featherweight Championship)
Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson (Co-Main Event)
Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Massenzio
Carlo Prater vs. Erick Silva
Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim
Preliminary Card (FX):
Thiago Tavares vs. Sam Stout (PDG’s Match-Up of the Night)
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ednaldo Oliveira
Yuri Alcantara vs. Michihiro Omigawa
Mike Pyle vs. Ricardo Funch
Preliminary Card (UFC Facebook):
Antonio Carvalho vs. Felipe Arantes
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