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UFC 179 predictions

Buda Mendes

The UFC is back in Brazil, this time on pay-per-view with the last remaining Brazilian champion in the organization in Jose Aldo putting his title up for grabs against Chad Mendes. This is the second meeting between the two, the first taking place at UFC 142 in January of 2012, also in Rio. In the co-main event, top light heavyweight contenders Phil Davis and Glover Teixeira, both coming off of losses, look to get back on the winning track.

Will Aldo successfully retain his featherweight title? Who will emerge victorious in the co-main event between Teixeira and Davis? I answer these questions and more with my predictions for Saturday's fights.

What: UFC 179: Aldo vs. Mendes 2

Where: Ginásio do Maracanãzinho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When: Saturday, the two-fight Fight Pass card starts at 7 p.m. ET, the Fox Sports 1 main card starts at 8 p.m. and the five-fight pay-per-view card kicks off 10 p.m.

Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes

Even though I've expressed my lukewarm attitudes toward Aldo's style, I still give him the nod here. Mendes will probably have better luck getting Aldo to the floor, but not for very long or very often (unless the fight goes late). Generally speaking, I still see Mendes having an issue with absorbing strikes at distance and cornering Aldo long enough to be able to get meaningful grips around him. He'll make it more of a fight, but not enough to wrestle away Aldo's title. Aldo's defense is simply too good even if he fades as the fight progresses.

Pick: Aldo

Glover Teixeira vs. Phil Davis

If there was one positive takeaway from Teixeira's fight with Jon Jones, it's that his takedown defense is rather excellent. He times it perfectly, sinks his hips to the mat with his legs behind him and scrambles back to his feet as quickly as he can. He may not stop all of Davis' takedown attempts - which are admittedly very different from Jones - but he'll do it enough. In between those moments, I expect Davis to have a hard time with the Brazilian's willingness to box. He's powerful, active and fairly accurate. As long as he doesn't get too carried away, he should be able to ride this one out to a decision.

Pick: Teixeira

Fabio Maldonado vs. Hans Stringer

I have no idea what to make of the match except that somehow, The Brazilian zombie that Maldonado will find a way to win after donating a pint or two of blood.

Pick: Maldonado

Darren Elkins vs. Lucas Martins

Martins has positively excellent Muay Thai. It's crisp, brutal, thrown in combinations and constantly active. I'm just not entirely convinced about the rest of his game. Elkins has his issues, and is limited in terms of being a damager, but it's also true he's durable and very well rounded. Martins might tune him up for a bit, but I suspect Elkins might eventually find he's able to get this fight to the ground where he should have some distinct advantages in terms of positional control.

Pick: Elkins

Diego Ferriera vs. Beniel Dariush

Dariush can crack and his jiu-jitsu prowess is well established. Ferreira is relatively similar, although doesn't have the punching power of Dariush. The key difference might be the pace of offense. Ferreira is up for going from patient to barnstorming while Dariush carries on at a more even-keeled tempo. Against Ramsey Nijem, that strategy backfired for Dariush and despite his considerable ground skills, I suspect something similar to the Nijem fight will happen here again.

Pick: Ferreira

From the preliminary card:

Neil Magny def. William Macario
Yan Cabral def. Noayuki Kotani
Wilson Reis def. Scott Jorgensen
Felipe Arantes def. Andre Fili
Gilbert Burns def. Christos Giagos
Tony Martin def. Fabricio Camoes

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