Decoding Aldo: Scarface uses Chad Mendes' heavy pressure to create diamonds 7 years ago

Decoding Aldo: Scarface uses Chad Mendes' heavy pressure to create diamonds

We break down how Jose Aldo went through 25 minutes of hell against Chad Mendes, and re-emerged still clutching the belt.

Mendes' balls to the wall striking game in the main event at UFC 179 in Brazil gave Aldo arguably the toughest test of his career.


Money had the champion rocked several times during the bout, showing that he had vastly improved since being brutally KO'd by that pesky knee in their first encounter nearly three years earlier.

Left for dead

Throughout the build up to this fight, Aldo constantly made references to Mendes having one weapon, a huge right hand. However, Mendes 2.0 proved he had a few more strings to his bow than his former self.

One of these new tricks Mendes added to his game was the counter left hook. He stunned Aldo with one of these bad boys in the first stanza.


Mendes Aldo left hook

There's actually this Irish guy who likes to do these types of counters of this ilk. Don't know if you've heard of him...

McGregor left hook counter

McGregor may have set his up in that case a bit differently, but it's still interesting to note that he has that in his arsenal.


The thing is though, Aldo's not bad at that counter left either.

Aldo puts Mendes down

Grace under fire

Mendes' gameplan for this bout was very different to the pair's prior meeting inside the Octagon. This time around, the Team Alpha Male product tried to pressure the champion, mix up his striking game, and use fake takedowns to set up his punches.


All you have to do is compare the fighters' faces at the end of the fifth to see that Mendes landed the heavier blows. However, despite eating the heavier blows, Aldo still won four rounds out of five.

He did this by using an efficient, high percentage striking game, which is reminiscent of some of GSP's later title defences.

Aldo Mendes points

Creating diamonds

Round three was up there with the best rounds of MMA in 2014. Both fighters let fly with heavy but calculated combinations which resulted in some spectacular exchanges.


Mendes met Aldo in the centre and had success swinging his cinder blocks of hands. He landed on the money with several huge uppercuts, straights and hooks which stumbled the champion, but couldn't knock him down to the mat.

Aldo's safety net of his Jay Leno-like chin allowed him to absorb Mendes' best and give himself the opportunity to fire back with some forceful punches of his own.

Aldo Mendes tradin

Mendes' constant pressuring of the champion wasn't fruitless. He did manage to score some heavy blows and at times looked like he was on the cusp of taking charge of the striking battle.

However, Aldo was unwilling to let Mendes' gutsy tactics intimidate him. He stood toe-to-toe with the American and waited for Mendes to make a mistake before duly punishing him with his much-vaunted countering ability.

aldo rocks mendes

Championship rounds

Many felt that if the fight went the distance it would give Mendes the advantage because of Aldo's tendency to fade in the latter stages. Early in round four, it seemed that this prediction might come true as Aldo appeared to take his foot off the gas pedal and allow Mendes to get in some good shots.

It looked like Mendes did enough to nab the fourth stanza, although he may not have inflicted the amount of damage he would have liked against the champion.

Going into the final round, Mendes knew he needed a finish to usurp King Aldo's featherweight throne. However, against everyone's expectations, it appeared Aldo had more left in the tank, which may have been the result of that "breather" he took in the fourth.

aldo Mendes shattered

Mendes had given everything he had in the first four rounds, which was obvious from his heavy breathing and his much more laboured movement in the fifth.

Knowing that this was a close fight, Aldo didn't coast towards the decision like he did against Lamas. Instead, he capitalised on his opponent's fatigue and turned on the offence.

Aldo Mendes r5

He showcased his stellar takedown defence yet again, by stopping two of three attempts from the wrestler, and even managed to briefly take his back from a stuffed takedown attempt.

Aldo takedown defence Mendes

Aldo outworked Mendes in the fifth by landing more than the double the amount the strikes than his opponent. He forced the pressure on his exhausted adversary and did everything in his power to secure that final round and take home the unanimous decision victory.

It wasn't a comfortable fight, not by a long shot, but these are the types of hard-fought victories that define a great champion.

Mendes came out with the intention of taking Aldo's head clean off, but the Brazilian did enough to quell the onslaught from arguably the heaviest hitter in the division's over 25 gruelling minutes and keep hold of that belt.

As we build up to UFC 194 we examined Aldo's ability to boss the Octagon against Ricardo Lamas, as well as his brutal chess-match victory over Frankie Edgar.