When: Saturday, July 11th 2015 at 7:00pm ET
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
Watch: UFC Fight Pass, Fox Sports 1 & PPV
WHY did Jose Aldo have to get injured before fighting Conor McGregor?
It was going to be one of the best fights in UFC history, but that fight has had to be put on the shelf for now. McGregor will still be fighting in the main event, but now he’ll be fighting Chad Mendes – a fighter who has only ever lost to Aldo.
The two featherweights will be fighting for the interim title now that Aldo is out with a hip flexor injury.
Don’t overlook the co-main event – Robbie Lawler will try to defend the UFC Welterweight Championship against Rory MacDonald — in what should be an interesting fight. Lawler may be the current champion, but MacDonald is the betting line favorite.
Mendes vs. McGregor odds and predictions
Fight Odds: Mendes +140 (Bovada) vs. McGregor -160 (5Dimes)
Total Rounds: Over 2.5 Rounds -115 (5Dimes) vs. Under 2.5 Rounds -105 (5Dimes)
Conor McGregor (17-2) can’t be ecstatic about fighting Chad Mendes (17-2), as he presents a completely different stylistic match-up than Aldo would have. McGregor now has to ensure his takedown defense (TDD) is up to snuff against an elite wrestler.
Mendes averages 1.37 TD’s per round and he has 11 TD’s in his last four fights. He didn’t land a TD against Lamas last time out, but that’s because he knocked Lamas out in the opening round. The question is can Mendes land TD’s against the Irishman?
McGregor hasn’t been taken down in the UFC yet (100% TDD) and if he can keep this fight upright – he’ll win handily.
In the stand-up – McGregor has multiple edges. He’s a southpaw, while Mendes is orthodox. McGregor will tower over Mendes as well – he’s 3” taller (5’9” vs. 5’6”) and he’ll have a massive 8” reach advantage (74” vs. 66”).
The Irishman is averaging 5.72 strikes landed per minute (SLpM) and his striking accuracy is 42%. Mendes averages 2.68 SLpM (48% accuracy). Both fighters have good defense, but Mendes ranks better in strikes absorbed per minute (SApM).
Mendes averages 1.93 SApM, while McGregor averages 2.98 SApM. McGregor eats more shots, but that’s because he’s pushing forward all of the time at a high pace. However, Mendes also deserves credit for his excellent lateral movement and defense.
Neither fighter has fought the toughest competition, but Mendes has faced tougher opponents. Mendes has beat Lamas (FW Rank: 4), Lentz (FW Rank: 9) and Guida (FW Rank: 10) – McGregor has beaten Holloway (FW Rank: 5) and Siver (FW Rank: 14).
Mendes was knocked out by Aldo in 2012 in the 1st round, but he went the full 5 rounds in 2014 against Aldo.
My best bet is over 2.5 rounds at 5Dimes and I’m also betting on McGregor to win. His TDD has appeared to be strong enough to keep this fight upright where he’ll enjoy a massive edge. If he can get Mendes up against the fence – his power will win the fight.
Best Bets: McGregor ML -160 & Over 2.5 Rounds at 5Dimes.eu
MacDonald vs. Lawler odds and predictions
Fight Odds: MacDonald -185 (Bovada) vs. Lawler +165 (5Dimes)
Total Rounds: Over 3.5 Rounds -185 (5Dimes) vs. Under 3.5 Rounds +160 (5Dimes)
Robbie Lawler (25-10) opened up at +100 and Rory MacDonald (18-2) opened up at -140 – since then the odds have moved quite a bit and the Canadian is now a fairly big favorite. I’m surprised by the movement, as Lawler beat MacDonald back in 2013 (UFC 167).
MacDonald has beat Maia by decision, Woodley by decision and Saffiedine by TKO/KO since the loss – all three of these fighters are ranked inside of the top 8 on the UFC welterweight rankings. Lawler has gone 3-1 since beating MacDonald.
He lost to Hendricks, but has won three straight against Ellenberger (TKO), Brown (Split Decision) and Hendricks (Split Decision).
The first fight between these two was real close and could have went either way. Lawler landed more strikes (44 vs. 37), but the Canadian won the takedown battle (4-0). MacDonald has to utilize TD’s again because Lawler has too much striking power.
On paper – MacDonald has better striking stats than Lawler. MacDonald averages 3.94 SLpM (43% accuracy), 2.42 SApM and he has 65% defense. Lawler averages 3.51 SLpM (44% accuracy), 3.34 SApM and he has 62% defense.
MacDonald has better TDD (88% vs. 65%) and averages more takedown attempts.
I don’t like these odds, but I believe the public has it right – MacDonald will win this rematch and take the title.
UFC 189 parlay picks
I’m going to leave everyone with a parlay and the latest betting lines for the entire UFC 189 fight card.
The first two picks on my parlay are going to be McGregor ML and MacDonald ML.
Dennis Bermudez (14-4) is a -210 favorite at Bovada to beat Jeremy Stephens (23-11). Bermudez is ranked 8th in the FW division and Stephens is ranked 11th. Stephens lost to Swanson and Oliveira recently and I expect him to lose to Bermudez as well.
Bermudez is the better fighter. He averages 4.58 SLpM (42% accuracy), 3.28 SApM and 4.48 TD’s per 15 minutes. Stephens has way lower averages. Stephens will have a 5” reach advantage, but Bermudez is great at getting inside and pressuring his opponent.
The other two UFC 189 main card fights are Thatch (11-2) vs. Nelson (13-1-1) and Almeida (18-0) vs. Pickett (24-10).
I’m betting on Almeida to win by decision at +242 odds. I can’t pass those odds up. Pickett is overmatched in this fight, but he has only been KO’ed once. Almeida doesn’t do much outside of striking for power. Almeida will win, but it’ll go the distance.
Thatch started his UFC career with two first round knockouts against Edwards and Thiago, but he was slowed down by Henderson. I’m a fan of Nelson, but he just lost to Story and he’s now stepping up in competition. Thatch looks good, but he’s not a best bet.
Latest UFC 189 fight odds
Conor McGregor -160 vs. Chad Mendes +140
Rory MacDonald -185 vs. Robbie Lawler +165
Dennis Bermudez -210 vs. Jeremy Stephens +175
Brandon Thatch -190 vs. Gunnar Nelson +165
Thomas Almeida -950 vs. Brad Pickett +625
Matt Brown -185 vs. Tim Means +160
John Howard -110 vs. Cathal Pendred -110
Alex Garcia -400 vs. Mike Swick +325
Cody Garbrandt -600 vs. Henry Briones +450
Louis Smolka -115 vs. Neil Seery -105
Yosdenis Cedeno -190 vs. Cody Pfister +165
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