Undefeated featherweight Chad Mendes came into UFC 126 with a wrestling pedigree. Michihiro Omigawa's judo background, for the most part, was enough to neutralize Mendes' takedown attempts.
But Mendes also brought his right hook with him into the octagon at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Saturday night. He used that, along with an ever-improving standup game, to win a unanimous decision over Omigawa. The judges scored it, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, for Mendes, a member of Team Alpha Male based in Sacramento, Calif.
Mendes opened the second round with a big right hook that dropped Omigawa. Mendes followed up with a flurry of punches that opened up Omigawa's nose and upper lip. Omigawa (12-9-1), who continued to work from his back, got to hs feet a minute later.
In the first round, Mendes (10-0) landed some nice shots but showed a tendency to swing wildly and finish off-balance.That won't be beneficial as he moves up the ranks in the 145-pound division and inches closer to a title shot.
“I’m a little bummed," Mendes said. "I’m happy I got the win, but I have a lot to work on. I’m getting better at all aspects of the game but it’s back to the drawing board.”