Thearon W. Henderson
After steamrolling Cody McKenzie in July, Chad Mendes requested a more seasoned veteran, someone more resembling a contender so he could make a statement with a strong performance. The UFC initially answered that request with highly regarded Hacran Dias, but a late injury has scratched Dias from this weekend's UFC on FX 6 card, leaving Mendes little choice but to face whomever the UFC could wrangle.
As it turns out, the choice is Yaotzin Meza, an Arizona-based fighter who sports a respectable 18-7 record but will be fighting for a major promotion for the first time. The promotion first confirmed the change to Melbourne, Australia's Herald Sun newspaper.
Meza is a training partner of lightweight champion Benson Henderson at The MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona.
He will be the rare fighter who makes his UFC debut while coming off a loss. In April, he had a six-fight win streak snapped when he suffered a first-round TKO at the hands of Andres Quintana.
His most high-profile win came against Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Alonzo Martinez back in 2008.
Mendes (12-1) will be hoping to capture his second straight win since losing to Jose Aldo in a January 2012 title fight.
His fight will air on the undercard of the Friday night event, which is headlined by a lightweight bout pitting Ross Pearson against George Sotiropoulos. The card also features Hector Lombard vs. Rousimar Palhares, as well as the finals of The Utlimate Fighter's Australia edition.
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