Javier Mendez sees more pathways to victory for Justin Gaethje than Michael Chandler.
Gaethje takes on Chandler in what can only be a guaranteed lightweight barnburner at the UFC 268 pay-per-view event taking place in New York’s Madison Square Garden on November 6.
It’s a fight that many have wanted to see ever since Chandler signed with the UFC, and it’s entirely possible that the winner gets the next title shot.
Mendez, head coach of American Kickboxing Academy, is familiar with both men, having notably trained Khabib Nurmagomedov for the Gaethje fight while Chandler was also a potential opponent at one point.
And Mendez ultimately believes the calf kicks from Gaethje will be a huge deciding factor.
“Chandler’s a hell of a fighter. He’s got good speed, good power,” Mendez said on Mike Swick’s podcast. “Gaethje’s got a bigger chin and he’s fantastic at those low calf kicks. I don’t think Michael is as proficient with those leg kicks, just as I warned Khabib.
“… I don’t think Michael is going to be able to stop him on those calf kicks. Even if you practice them, he’s so good at them that even Khabib couldn’t really stop those calf kicks from coming in. He went through him because Khabib is just mentally tough.”
Mendez: Gaethje Has More Options To Win
Of course, anything can happen — especially as both fighters have fight-ending power.
But in the end, Mendez sees more ways to win for Chandler thanks to his leg kicks as well as having a superior chin to the former Bellator lightweight champion.
“Justin Gaethje is going to be a handful for Michael but anything can happen. Michael’s got the power, the speed, they’ve both got good wrestling,” Mendez added. “I think the stronger chin is definitely Gaethje, I think the stronger kicker is definitely Gaethje and I think they match up well as far as power.
“… I think Gaethje has more options to win.”
UFC 268 will be headlined by a welterweight title rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington.
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