Javier Mendez doesn’t think either fighter would do well against a middleweight with dominant wrestling.
Javier Mendez says that he’d confidently favor Khamzat Chimaev to defeat both Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya with his wrestling.
The American Kickboxing Academy founder has trained a number of UFC champions and is one of the most respected coaches in the sport, so it’s no surprise that he took some time on a recent episode of his podcast to break down the upcoming rematch between Pereira and Adesanya at UFC 287.
That matchup has the attention of fight fans all around the world after Pereira finished Adesanya in the fifth round to win the middleweight title in their previous meeting at UFC 281.
Mendez is as interested as anyone else to see how the next fight between the two former kickboxing rivals plays out, but he also feels that stylistically he’d favor Chimaev to beat whichever fighter ends up holding the UFC’s middleweight title.
“Just my opinion is I don’t give them – I don’t favor them against Khamzat,” Mendez said. “I don’t. Because Khamzat’s skillset is grappling and there is nobody like him in that 185-pound division. And I’m sorry, these guys aren’t gonna stop him.”
Javier Mendez Doesn’t Believe Alex Pereira Or Israel Adesanya Can Stop Khamzat Chimaev’s Takedowns
Pereira and Adesanya are two of the most decorated strikers currently competing in MMA, but assuming Chimaev got right to wrestling Mendez doesn’t believe their standup skills would be especially effective against the undefeated fighter.
“If he stands with them, Khamzat stands with them, good luck for him. They’ll put him out. There’s no way Khamzat can stand with those guys, just like there’s no way they can deal with Khamzat on the ground. Khazmat’s a beast on the ground and I don’t know, if they ever do get an opportunity to fight I’ll take Khamzat over both of those guys.
That’s because of the skillset. They don’t have enough to prevent the takedown. He who controls where the fight goes is who usually ends up being the winner. And Khamzat’s gonna control where that fight goes, that’s why I picked him.”
Chimaev and Pereira have already taken some shots at one another during the lead up to UFC 287, but “Borz” hasn’t actually been scheduled to compete at middleweight since joining the UFC. The 28-year-old is currently the promotion’s #3-ranked welterweight contender, but the egregious weight miss ahead of his last fight at UFC 271 and his previous history as a middleweight have left some fans wondering if he might decide to move up a division.
Any serious discussions of the next middleweight title challenger will have to wait until after Pereira and Adesanya meet in the main event of UFC 287 in Miami. “The Last Stylebender” is currently a slight favorite to reclaim his title, but he’s also currently 0-3 against Pereira across both MMA and kickboxing.