Chad Mendes was a Division I NCAA finalist in wrestling, and he showed off those skills in his bout with Cub Swanson. Mendes won the decision, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.
In the first round, Mendes utilized his wrestling background, landing an early punch before taking Swanson down. Referee Josh Rosenthal wasn't satisfied with Mendes' progress, so he stood the fighters up. Swanson nailed Mendes with a kick, and Mendes took him down again. Before the round ended, Mendes took Swanson down one more time after Swanson tried an unsuccessful flying knee.
The second and third rounds followed the same script, with Mendes avoiding Swanson's increasing flurry of kicks with takedowns. Swanson seemed more comfortable in the second round, doing a better job of getting out from underneath Mendes. However, any time Swanson was able to build a rhythm on his feet, Mendes took him back to the ground.
"I'm a wrestler, and feel most comfortable on the ground," Mendes said after the fight. "I'm still working on my standup."
Mendes, who trains with Urijah Faber's Alpha Male team in Sacramento, notched his eighth win since starting MMA. His wrestling is impressive, but Mendes will need to grow more in his standup games as he moves up the WEC featherweight ladder.