Former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez (pictured) and Diego Sanchez may have received third-to-top billing at UFC 166, but the lightweights stole the show with their thrilling 15-minute affair on Saturday night.
Putting aside the fact Melendez was a 7-1 odds-on favorite to steamroll Sanchez, most MMA pundits believed the two were going to win the “Fight of the Night” bonus. They one-upped that prediction by challenging for Fight of the Year.
Melendez had taken the opening two rounds, battering his opponent’s face with a barrage of punches. Despite his mug looking a bloodied mess, Sanchez came out with guns blazing in the final stanza. During a wild flurry, “The Dream” briefly dropped Melendez.
However, “El Nino” managed to weather the storm. When the dust settled on their shootout, Melendez walked away with a (29-28, 30-27, 29-28) unanimous decision victory. It marked his first W in the UFC.
When the fight concluded, the entire audience was on their feet screaming with excitement. UFC president Dana White was stalking press row boasting about the barnburner.
Imagine if that was a five-round affair…
UFC 166 took place inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Please click the media player below to watch the highlights: