Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Mixed Martial Arts [Print without images]

Monday, December 10, 2012
Chad Mendes to fight Yaotzin Meza

By Franklin McNeil
ESPN.com

With fast-rising Hacran Dias unable to compete due to injury, UFC featherweight contender Chad Mendes will face Yaotzin Meza on Friday in Gold Coast, Australia.

Meza will be making his UFC debut. He has a professional record of 20-7.

"This is a huge opportunity for me," Meza said. "I am thankful that the UFC is opening this door. I can't wait to get to Australia, step in the Octagon and show that I belong in this organization.

"I've been training hard already, helping (UFC lightweight champion) Benson (Henderson) to prepare for his fight with (Nate) Diaz, so there won't be a huge adjustment for me to get ready for this fight."

Henderson retained his title this past Saturday with a lopsided unanimous decision over Diaz in Seattle.

Meza used a rear-naked choke in the first round on Nov. 4 to submit Edgar Garcia. The win was Meza's eighth in nine bouts.

Mendes, who is ranked No. 2 among featherweights by ESPN.com, is seeking his second win in a row since losing to 145-pound titleholder Jose Aldo in January.

In his most recent bout, on July 7 at UFC 148, Mendes (12-1) registered a first-round knockout of Cody McKenzie.

Dias suffered an undisclosed injury recently, which forced him off Friday night's UFC on FX 6 card.