Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Faced with the prospect of fighting a late-notice, little-known replacement, Chad Mendes could have been distracted or uninterested, but instead, he took care of business in short order, dispatching Yaotzin Meza with a blistering overhand right at 1:55 of the first round.
Mendes, who was originally supposed to face rising prospect Hacran Dias before the young Brazilian was knocked out by injury, perfectly timed his finisher, ducking out of the way of a lazy left hook and coming over the top with a power shot that sent Meza crashing to the mat.
Mendes added a few ground strikes for good measure, but the damage was done and the ref stepped in to halt the action.
The featherweight contender tipped his cap to Meza for taking the fight on short notice, but noted that his intensity was raised by what potentially lies beyond this particular fight.
"I'm going after that belt," he said. "I want that belt. I'm on my way, taking it one fight at a time, but I'm coming after it."
Mendes won for the second time since losing a title match to Jose Aldo in January, though neither of his opponents were anywhere near the top 10. He's now 13-1.
Meza was making his organizational debut, and had won seven of his last eight prior to the bout. The loss dropped his record to 19-8.
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