Brazilian bantamweight Matheus Mendonca is the latest fighter to watch out of the South American MMA hotspot.
Tale of the Tape
Fighting out of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Weight class: Bantamweight
Training out of Chute Boxe Diego Lima
1 KO/TKO, 2 Submissions
- Excellent jiu-jitsu
- Good wrestling
- Thrives in scrambles
- Good ground and pound
- Chain-wrestles well
- Submission threat
- Dangerous head kick
- Scrappy striking
- Can be submission over position
- Questionable chin
- Needs to move his head more
Mendonca has that Chute Boxe style, full of forward motion throwing punch and kick combinations. He’s a tight-knit striker throwing his hands mainly while in the pocket, slipping and returning. He likes to throw a lot of explosive stuff like spinning back fists, spinning kicks, spinning elbows and he loves to throw flying knees. Mendonca throws a lot of head kicks as well. He could put it together better besides just throwing without any setups.
Mendonca is a quick explosive fighter but is a bit plodding in his footwork. He’s not stationary all the time as he’s always moving, but he just has a problem planting his feet too frequently.
The clinch is where Mendonca finds ways to get takedowns. He’s not the strongest guy but knowing his positioning has helped him get takedowns and on the other side defend takedowns as well. He’s good at breaking away and landing short shots as well.
Being a better grappler it’s important to have good wrestling and Mendonca has developed exactly that. He’s not the most proficient takedown artist at a distance as he mainly makes it dirty. He will explode from the outside and while he doesn’t usually complete the takedown on the first attempt his chain wrestling comes into play and works his opponents to the mat. Being able to chain-wrestler is a fantastic quality to have especially for a young fighter. Mendonca is excellent at pushing guys against the fence to use the body lock, trips, and drop levels on the leg(s).
Mendonca has excellent jiu-jitsu which is by far his greatest asset in my opinion. His record only featuring two subs doesn’t do justice to the submission threat that he truly is. There have been many submissions attempted but not finished but to instead used to get into better positions and even create sweeps/scrambles. Although he can be over-aggressive he’s all over the place on the mat while landing good ground and pound. Mendonca floats on top while being insanely quick as he stands out in scrambles. He fits the bill as an all-around excellent grappler.
Mendonca has gone the distance three times and out of five fights, that’s a good look for his gas tank. He does slow a bit as the fight goes on but with the pace he fights at his cardio is darn good. Especially while on the mat his cardio looks the same from start to finish.
Mendonca has solid takedown defense but the few times he’s found himself on his back it’s when he pulled guard for a guillotine. Although he’s never been in trouble on the mat he has been wobbled and stunned on the feet before. Mendonca can be flat-footed and his head will become stationary so he’s not too hard to hit and sitting in the pocket too long doesn’t help. So far his chin has held up and that’s taking a few good ones right on the chin.
Brazil’s Mendonca is an outstanding prospect. He may just be only 6-0 but with good wins especially against a veteran like Pedro Nobre in his last fight, he has proved he is a top 135er out of Brazil. Billed more of a striker it’s the grappling/jiu-jitsu that makes his the special prospect he is. Mendonca trains out of an excellent team in Chute Boxe Diego Lima. He’s a training partner of UFC lightweight contender Charles Oliviera. Mendonca also trains with Brendo Bispo who I wrote about in my last Brazilian prospect watch.
This young man is only 22-years-old so there is nothing but time on his side. On the feet, he just needs to work on his defense and put together combinations better. On the mat, he can be more calmer so he won’t lose position as much. His strengths heavily outweigh his flaws. He’s an explosive, hard-hitting, athletic striker with a high-level ground game.