MMA Crossfire – UFC 189: Mendes vs McGregor predictions

We’re finally here.

After all the world tours, Embedded’s, and press conferences, it’s money time for Conor McGregor, Chad Mendes, Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald.

Buckle up, fight fans and enjoy the ride.

Welcome back to The Crossfire.

MMA Crossfire

In case you missed the UFC 189 Embedded series, you can watch them all right here.

MMA Crossfire Expert Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the card.

UFC 189

Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

UFC FIGHT PASS EARLY PRELIMS (7PM ET/4PM PT)

YOSDENIS “THE PINK PANTHER” CEDENO (10-4-1) VS CODY “THE FIST” PFISTER (12-3-1)

UFC 189

Yosdenis Cedeno and Cody Pfister face off during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Pfister lost his debut fight and should some motivation to win here.  Both of these guys don’t land much strikes, but eat a lot. I’m going with Cedeno and his 70% knockout rate to catch Cody before he gases out on the ground.

Andrews Prediction: Yosdenis “The Pink Panther” Cedeno via TKO.

NEIL “2TAP” SEERY (15-10-0) VS LOUIS “DA LAST SAMURAI” SMOLKA (8-1-0)

UFC 189

Neil Seery and Louis Smolka face off during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: It’s the gritty ground game of Seery versus the striking and kicks of Smolka. Can Smolka catch Seery before he gets taken to the ground? I think not. Seery will grind out a unanimous decision win.

Andrews Prediction: Neil Seery via unanimous decision.

TSN 5 PRELIMS (8PM ET/5PM PT)

CODY “NO LOVE” GARBRANDT (6-0-0) VS HENRY “BURE” BRIONES (19-4-1)

UFC 189

Cody Garbrandt and Henry Briones face off during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Cody is a knockout machine, but Briones is no slouch either. He can finish you on the ground as well as the feet. He’s a bit more versatile, so I’m going with the Mexican to end No Love’s undefeated streak.

Andrews Prediction: Henry “Bure” Briones via TKO.

CATHAL PENDRED (17-3-1) VS JOHN “DOOMSDAY” HOWARD (22-11-0)

UFC 189

Cathal Pendred and John Howard face off during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Howard is a tough veteran fighter, but  he is outgunned here. Pendred has the height and reach advantage and has a big gas tank as well.  Howard has the knockout power, but he will get outworked by Irishman.

Andrews Prediction: Cathal Pendred via unanimous decision.

MIKE “QUICK” SWICK (15-5-0) VS ALEX “THE DOMINICAN NIGHTMARE” GARCIA (12-2-0)

UFC 189

Mike Swick and Alex Garcia face off during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: The veteran experience of the 36-year-old Swick versus the up-and-coming Dominican-Canadian. Garcia fights out of Tristar, and I’me expecting him to use his technical  skills to stop Swick.

Andrews Prediction: Alex “The Dominican Nightmare” Garcia via TKO.

#5 MATT BROWN (21-13-0) VS TIM “THE DIRTY BIRD” MEANS (24-6-1)

UFC 189

Matt Brown and Tim Means face off during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Means has a 4-fight win streak versus a 2-fight losing streak of Brown, but Matt fought the best of the division. I expect Brown to overcome some early trouble and earn a decision win here.

Andrews Prediction: Matt Brown via unanimous decision.

MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)

#15 BRAD “ONE PUNCH” PICKETT (25-10-0) VS #14 THOMAS “THOMINHAS” ALMEDIDA (19-0-0)

UFC 189

Brad Pickett and Thomas Almeida during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Pickett is looking to rebound off two losses, but I think he runs into a bull in Almedida. The striking of Thominhas is off the charts, and it will power him to victory here.

Andrews Prediction: Thomas “Thominhas” Almedida via TKO.

#15 GUNNAR “GUNNI” NELSON (13-1-1) VS BRANDON “RUKUS” THATCH (11-2-0)

UFC 189

Gunnar Nelson and Brandon Thatch face off during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: I was disappointed in Nelson’s last performance, and I liked Thatch’s performance against Henderson. He just has to guard against the takedown and manage his gas tank.  A touch call, but I’m going with the striking of Thatch.

Andrews Prediction: Brandon “Rukus” Thatch via unanimous decision.

#8 DENNIS “THE MENANCE” BERMUDEZ (15-4-0) VS #11 JEREMY “LIL’ HEATHEN” STEPHENS (23-11-0)

UFC 189

Jeremy Stephens steps onto the scale during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Andrews: Bermudez is lights out but he fades early. Heathens was outclassed by Charles Oliveira in his last fight, and I think the speed and wrestling of Bermudez will befuddle him again, with just enough gas in the tank to eke out a close win.

Andrews Predictions: Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez via split-decision.

WELTERWEIGHT TITLE DEFENCE

“RUTHLESS” ROBBIE LAWLER (25-10-0, 1NC) VS #2 RORY “RED KING” MACDONALD (18-2-0)

UFC 189

UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and Rory Macdonald face off steps onto the scale during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Which Rory MacDonald will show up? The points fighter who outsmarts himself, or the natural sniper who looks for offence. I think Rory has learned and will take outlast The Ruthless one in a great fight.

Andrews Predictions: Rory “Red King” MacDonald via unanimous decision.

FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE MAIN EVENT

#1 CHAD “MONEY” MENDES (17-2-0) VS #3 CONOR “THE NOTORIOUS” MCGREGOR (17-2-0)

UFC 189

Chad Mendes and Conor McGregor face off during the UFC 189 weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 10, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: The striking of Mendes has improved since his UFC 142 loss to Jose Aldo, but McGregor is elite. If Chad cannot get McGregor worried about something on the feet, he will not be able to set up his takedowns. Conor has to keep the advantage on the feet to win, which I think he should be able to do for the most part.

Andrews Predictions: Conor McGregor via TKO.

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@kenaiandrews

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UFC 189

Kenai is a former Postmedia Network news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.
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