College Notebook: Former Cal Poly wrestler Mendes back in UFC spotlight

Ex-Mustang is on main card of Saturday’s UFC on FOX 9 event

sports@thetribunenews.comDecember 10, 2013 

Former Cal Poly wrestler Chad Mendes, left, reacts after his first-round technical knockout of Cody McKenzie at UFC 148 on July 7, 2012, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Mendes won the fight on a body punch in only 31 seconds.

DAVID BECKER — AP

Chad Mendes hasn’t only gone undefeated in his past four bouts in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The former Cal Poly wrestler has finished each fight in spectacular fashion, with one knockout and three wins by TKO.

The top-ranked featherweight contender in the UFC will look to keep that streak going Saturday night in front of a national-television audience.

Mendes (15-1) will face eighth-ranked Nik Lentz (24-5) at UFC on FOX 9: Johnson vs. Benavidez 2 on Saturday night at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. The fight is one of four bouts on the main card, which will be televised on FOX beginning at 5 p.m.

The main event pits one of Mendes’ Team Alpha Male teammates, challenger Joseph Benavidez, against Demetrious Johnson for the UFC flyweight title. The winner of the Mendes-Lentz fight will likely get a featherweight title shot against longtime champion José Aldo, who handed Mendes his only loss in professional mixed martial arts with a first-round knockout Jan. 14, 2012, in Rio de Janeiro.

Mendes enjoyed a storied career as a Cal Poly wrestler, earning NCAA Division I All-America honors twice. He finished second in the nation at 141 pounds in 2008.

Cal Poly football reveals team honors

Cal Poly’s football program announced team honors, with senior defensive lineman Sullivan Grosz earning Team MVP, junior running back Kristaan Ivory receiving Offensive MVP and senior safety Alex Hubbard claiming Defensive MVP.

Grosz racked up a team-high 81⁄2 sacks this year, Ivory became the 16th Cal Poly player to surpass 1,000 yards rushing in a season, and Hubbard had 74 tackles and two interceptions.

Taua chooses Bruins

Lompoc High senior defensive tackle Ainuu Taua committed to UCLA, choosing the Bruins over scholarship offers from Mississippi, Oklahoma and Washington State, according to ESPN.

The 6-foot, 295-pound Taua was a dominant force on both sides of the ball this season, powering the Braves (11-2) to a 6-0 Los Padres League title and a berth in the CIF-Southern Section Western Division semifinals.

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