34-Year-Old UFC Bantamweight 5-2-0
October 4, 2017 Augusto Mendes News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Mendes has withdrawn from his UFC Sao Paulo matchup against Boston Salmon due to left ankle and tibia injuries, Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com reports.
Mendes was in line to see his fourth fight with the UFC in his native Brazil, but an injury sustained just over three weeks before the scheduled event will prevent that from happening. Once healthy, he'll look to bring his record back to even after a 1-2 start with the promotion.
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Fantasy AnalysisMendes joined the UFC 2016 and has struggled against the level of competition. However, he did debut against Cody Garbrandt, the current bantamweight champion, which is a lot to ask of a UFC newcomer. Mendes is currently 1-2 with the promotion (6-2 overall) with four submission victories.
Fantasy AnalysisMendes was in a very tough spot going up against an ultra-talented opponent who was in desperate need of a win. He did a good job of hanging in early before Sterling eventually pulled away in Rounds 2 and 3. A black belt and former world champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, most of Mendes' troubles come on the feet. There isn't move room for improvement here given he fact that Mendes is already 34 years old.
Fantasy AnalysisMendes is a highly decorated BJJ black belt, but had to lean on his striking for this contest, as Saenz's high-level wrestling ensured that the fight never stayed on the ground for long. It was an impressive performance for the 33-year-old, as he was able to land the more accurate strikes while slipping and countering effectively. Mendes faced a scary moment in Round 2 when an elbow from the clinch put him on his back, but survived the round and remained in the fight thereafter. With matchups against Cody Garbrandt and now Saenz to open his UFC career, Mendes hasn't had an easy road, but he may be able to do some damage if he can pair competent striking with his world class jiu jitsu game.
Fantasy AnalysisMendes is coming off serious reconstructive knee surgery this past May, but is apparently ready to step into the Octagon. His UFC debut came against Cody Garbrandt, but his knockout loss shouldn't be counted against him too much, as Garbrandt will be fighting for a title Dec. 30. Mendes is a submission specialist, with four of his five professional victories coming via the tapout. He'll look to put that grappling to work against the 36-year-old Saenz, who is coming off back-to-back losses.
Fantasy AnalysisMendes claims he will be able to fight again by the end of 2016, but these injuries can carry up to a year of rehab and recovery time, so the more likely scenario is a early-to-mid 2017 return. The 33-year-old Brazilian was defeated by Codo Garbrandt at his UFC debut in February, but plans to bring his submission skills back to the bantamweight division as soon as possible. Mendes claims he will be able to get back to training within four months, but that would likely require each and every step in his recovery to go exactly as planned, without any setbacks.
Fantasy AnalysisAs expected, Mendes had a very tough time with the striking pressure of Garbrandt. Mendes deserves a bit of a pass because he had to cut a ton of weight on very short notice and he was facing one of the top prospects in the world, so it's hard to get too worked up about the loss. Mendes' ground game is as good or better than virtually any man in the world, but it's unclear if the rest of his game will develop enough for him to become a successful MMA fighter. His next fight will be key for his career.
Fantasy AnalysisThe Jiu-Jitsu specialist agreed to replace an ill John Lineker on less than a week's notice. It's a tall task for a guy who is getting set to make his UFC debut, but Mendes has the ground game to defeat any man in the world at 135 pounds. It remains to be seen what kind of shape Mendes will be in and he figures to struggle massively in striking exchanges against a talented opponent, but he is a live underdog who at least has a path to victory if he can execute his game plan.
Fantasy AnalysisMendes will take the place of John Lineker, who had to drop out of the bout after coming down with a case of Dengue fever. The 32-year-old Brazilian is new to the promotion, but owns a 5-0 professional fighting record (four submissions). Garbrandt, who is undefeated as well, will likely look to keep this fight on the feet in an effort to avoid the jiu-jitsu skills of Mendes.