Javid “The Snow Leopard” Basharat is a 27-year-old undefeated bantamweight. Basharat earned a UFC contract with a third-round submission win on Dana White Contender Series in 2021. Then, he tacked on two decision wins in 2022 to bring his professional record to 13-0. Mateus “Bocao” Mendonca, 23, is also undefeated and a DWCS alum. Mendonca won via a first-round knockout. Interestingly, his 10-0 record includes seven finishes, all in the first round, and three decision wins.
Depending on your book, Basharat has either maintained his odds or grown slightly larger as we anxiously await the first UFC event of 2023.
- Basharat: -350
- Mendonca: +290
Basharat, despite his youth, fights like an experienced kickboxer. He has high-level footwork and movement, which he combines with frequent stance switching to make himself a difficult-to-hit moving target. Defensively, Basharat’s movement and footwork allow him to exploit slower opponents. He looks to point fight from range behind a stiff jab and diverse kicking attack. At kicking range, Basharat often has the edge in length, speed, and movement; meaning he tends to land without absorbing much in return. When “The Snow Leopard” gets the timing of an opponent down, he cuts angles cleanly, covers distance quickly, and looks to land combinations in the pocket before quickly exiting. He is also able to grapple well and hunts the neck efficiently. Typically, Basharat’s grappling is a backup plan, if he is struggling to keep a pressure-focused fighter off of him or if he drops an opponent and can follow him to the mat. While grappling is not his typical fighting focus, Basharat is skilled in the clinch and in transition as well. Quick and varied kicking combined with fluid movement makes Basharat an exciting prospect. However, he does tend to carry his chin high and hands low. Because his movement, reflexes, and instincts are high-level, Basharat is often able to evade strikes rather than block them. However, if an opponent can trap him and negate his movement, Basharat’s high chin is a concerning target.
Mendonca is an interesting fighter. He tends to blitz in round 1 and looks to decapitate his opponents with heavy power shots. Then, if an opponent can survive the early onslaught, Mendonca falls back into a more passive rhythm and fights with the intention of the fight going to a decision. Specific to his style, Mendonca is an all-offense fighter with limited defense. He tends to move linearly on the feet making him very hittable, especially when facing an intelligent or highly skilled counter striker with fluid footwork. Additionally, Mendonca has struggled significantly against leg kicks. He tends to stand with most of his weight on his front leg, making leg kicks more impactful when they land. And, they land often because “Bocao” rarely checks kicks. Even in a :48 knockout win, Mendonca took one leg kick and seemed to be negatively affected. Offensively, though, Mendonca makes up for many of his defensive liabilities. He has good hand speed, solid stopping power and an athletic frame that lends itself to his explosive striking style. Mendonca is adept at walking through fire to get in-tight and unload the more impactful and damaging strikes in a round en route to decision wins. Then, in fights where he can successfully bully opponents, he can trap them against the cage and tee-off until they drop. Similarly to Basharat, once he hurts and opponent, Mendonca is capable of following them down and finding the finish on the mat as well. He’s young, still growing, and his defense should improve; but, for now, Mendonca seems to be an exciting and explosive striker who relies on toughness rather than defense to create openings for his power.
Prediction and Betting Guide
I was honestly surprised by the line in this one. I’m high on Basharat despite his point-fighting style and lack of stopping power because his striking is so smooth and he seems to have a level head in the cage. However, Mendonca is no bum and has real power that can cause any unranked fighter issues. The edges in this fight, however, are movement and leg kicks. Basharat should be able to stay on his bike for 15 minutes while Mendonca chases him around the cage swinging at air. Additionally, Basharat has a high-level kicking game and should be able to exploit Mendonca’s vulnerable lead leg. I prefer Basharat in parlays because a decision is most likely, but I could see a late finish if Mendonca’s leg is severely compromised. Nevertheless, as a straight play, I like Basharat to piece Mendonca up for 15 minutes and win a wide decision.
Pick: Basharat to win by decision (+140 odds)