Three-time IBJJF World Champion Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes, who is 5-0 with 5 finishes in his young MMA career, will step into the Octagon on six days notice to face undefeated Cody Garbrandt (7-0) at UFC Fight Night from Pittsburgh, PA on Sunday, February 21st. MMAfighting.com reported Mendes will step in to replace John Lineker, who fell ill with dengue fever, in a bantamweight fight. The bout is a classic grappler vs. striker match up with Mendes possessing world class submission grappling skills while Garbrandt has six knockout finishes in seven fights. In addition to the last minute notice, Garbrandt will have a distinct home field advantage since he grew up only 85 miles outside of Pittsburgh.
Back in July, Mendes complained he couldn’t find an opponent. He told MMAfighting.com “They hear I’m a jiu-jitsu champion and think ‘there’s a lot of jiu-jitsu champions out there’, they think it’s easy, but when they find out I’m a world champion as a black belt it makes a difference. There are fighters in the UFC who call themselves jiu-jitsu world champions, but they never won the IBJJF world championship as a black belt. That’s completely different. When they find out I’m an IBJJF black belt world champion and realize the fight won’t be easy, they pull out. Since I signed for my MMA debut, I believe more than 15 guys pulled out. For my first two or three fights, I guess I had 10 different opponents. They say yes, then Google my name and that’s it. It looks like fighters with a good record don’t want to fight me. But that’s it. I want to win the belt no matter what.”
Now that Mendes is in the UFC, he likely won’t have any issues finding an opponent. His fight can be seen on the main card of UFC Fight Night, which can be seen live on FS1 on Sunday, February 21st at 9 PM EST/6 PM PST.