Most people in MMA circles heap great amounts of praise on UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby. I happen to think they did a terrific job with this fight card, with one very notable, glaring exception: this featherweight match between Cody McKenzie and Chad Mendes, scheduled to be the second fight on pay-per-view this Saturday. McKenzie enters at 13-2 overall, 2-2 in the UFC, and Mendes enters at 11-1 overall, 2-1 in the UFC.
I’m not going to spend too much time breaking this one down. McKenzie’s last 11 wins have all been by guillotine choke, which is very remarkable, especially considering that at this point, every one of his opponents knows how dangerous it is. At the same time, to date, the best fighters McKenzie has managed to beat are Marcus LeVesseur, Aaron Wilkinson, and Len Bentley. With apologies to those fighters, they are hardly a cast of MMA superstars. Meanwhile, when McKenzie took on Vagner Rocha and Yves Edwards, both below-average UFC fighters, he was unable to get the guillotine, instead being submitted by rear naked choke in both contests.
Chad Mendes is a much better striker than Cody McKenzie; it isn’t close. Mendes is a much better wrestler than McKenzie; it isn’t close. In fact, I would say Mendes is a better submission grappler as well. Sure, McKenzie has a bunch of wins with that guillotine, but if he could be submitted by Yves Edwards, he could absolutely be submitted by Mendes, and I’m thinking that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
SILVA PREDICTION: CHAD MENDES (81.94) OVER CODY MCKENZIE (39.45)
Like I said, I’m not spending too much time here. Marcus LeVesseur, Aaron Wilkinson, and Len Bentley were all submitted by Cody McKenzie’s guillotine. That’s not happening with Chad Mendes, who I see winning by some sort of finish, and who I feel is better at just about everything in MMA apart from the guillotine choke.