Money Mendes returns at UFC Fight Night 63
The UFC returns to action this weekend in a rare early Saturday event featuring Torque’s own Chad Mendes. Fairfax Virginia will host its third event since 2012 at the Patriot Center, and the top contending featherweights grab the 5 round main event. The UFC Featherweight division has garnered a lot of attention recently. The world tour of Champion Jose Aldo Jr. and contender Conor McGregor came to an explosive closing this week in Ireland. With so much attention on the champ and the contender’s antics, many fans are excited to see how the division will square up in the coming months.
Chad “Money” Mendes is coming off only his second loss in the UFC and looking to solidify his spot as the true #1 contender. Winner of “Fight of the Year” in 2014 Chad and Aldo went the distance in an instant classic. Despite the unanimous decision loss many people saw the damage that Mendes inflicted on Aldo and wondered if that fight had been in Los Angeles as originally planned, or if a late hit after the bell in the first Rd didn’t happen, perhaps the results would have been different. Mendes took a little time off but returned to intense training to return to the top. This weekend Ricardo Lamas stands in between Mendes and another shot at UFC Gold.
Ricardo Lamas also faced Jose Aldo in 2014, and lost a unanimous decision. Lamas, a dangerous grappler and striker, bounced back from his loss with a decision win against Hacran Dias, and then a quick submission of Dennis Bermudez at UFC 180. It is safe to say that Mendes and Lamas are the two most dangerous fighters in the division today and this weekend essential is the battle for a streak to the belt. Mendes holds the #1 rank currently and Lamas holds at #4. A win for Mendes could very possibly mean waiting to see the results of Aldo – McGregor for one more shot at the belt. With Frankie Edgar set to face Urijah Faber in May and Conor sitting at the #3 ranking Mendes and Lamas both have a chance to make a huge statement Saturday. If McGregor gets the belt in July we could very well see a rematch of that fight depending on the results, or a possible Mendes – McGregor battle. This weekend Mendes keeps his focus on the task at hand with Ricardo Lamas. Look for Mendes to wear his official UFC Fight Night 63 Camo walkout tee.
The co-main event Saturday afternoon features two of the most dangerous lightweights streaking to get a top ten ranking. Again, Torque’s Al Iaquinta steps into the octagon a slight underdog, this time to Jorge Masvidal. Don’t let the odds fool you, Al seems to prey on being underrated and underestimated. Al has executed three knock outs in a row against the likes of Rodrigo Damm, heavy hitting Ross Pearson, and bonus machine Joe Lauzon. Being overlooked could possibly come to an end for Al this weekend as the division sees the kind of power and accuracy Al brings to the featherweights. Jorge Masvidal is also coming off three solid wins against tough competition. The veteran Masvidal with a 28-8 record will look to neutralize the solid hands of Raging Al. A win for Al against a seasoned veteran could very well mean a jump into the divisions challenging top ten pool with guys like Eddie Alvarez, Myles Jury, Edson Barboza, and Benson Henderson. Raging Al Iaquinta will walkout in the Torque Blue Infinity tee.
Juliana Pena was a standout during The Ultimate Fighter Rousey-Tate season. Juliana pulled off the upset of Shayna Baszler then went on to win her way into the season finale. Winning the Ultimate fighter title against Jessica Rakoczy, Juliana was ready to noise in the division. During training for her fight against Jessica Andrade, Juliana severly injured her knee tearing the MCL ACL LCL and meniscus. Pena was shelved for all of 2014 and now gets her chance to get back on track against contender Milana Dudieva. Pena has been a fan favorite since the Ultimate Fighter series and possess excellent Jiu Jitsu and grappling skills. The “Venezuelan Vixen” will be ready for her first fight back in over a year . Juliana will be walking out in the Sniper Cam o tee and wearing the new Geometric Blue rashguard during the fight.
Longtime top contender Liz Carmouche gets back to work this weekend against Lauren Murphy. Liz has been with Torque since the very first Bantamweight fight in UFC history. Facing Ronda Rousey in the inaugural bantamweight bout, Liz gave Rousey perhaps her greatest threat in a deep standing guillotine. Ultimately Rouse won by armbar but Liz is highly considered one of the best in the division. After a win against Jessica Andrade, Liz faced top contenders Alexis Davis and Miesha Tate. Carmouche lost both by unanimous decisions and is looking to make a big comeback this weekend to prove her spot at the top of the division. Liz will have to tap into her striking power shown against Andrade to stop Murphy Saturday afternoon. Murphy a powerful striker herself has a loss to Sara McMann. Liz will be walking out in the Infinity rasta tee.
The night also features great fights scheduled with Mike Chiesa and Mitch Clarke, Clay Guida and Robbie Peralta, and Dustin Porier moving up to lightweight against Diego Ferreira. Due to the early fight schedule Weigh ins will be live Friday afternoon at 12 pm EST. and then all of the action starts Saturday morning with early prelims on Foxsports1 at 11 AM EST.