UFC 166 saw Gilbert Melendez take on Diego Sanchez in a lightweight contest as part of the pay-per-view main card. The action packed bout earned a well deserved Fight of the Night honors and had Joe Rogan claiming it was best war he has ever seen in his life.
For most of the fight, the former Strikeforce champion used his boxing to completely pick apart and dominate Sanchez. He was able to drop and hurt his opponent multiple times, leaving a really deep gash on Diego's eyebrow that made it a really bloody contest. Like most of his bouts though, Diego Sanchez never let up as he showcased his trademark tenacity and determination to overcome technical deficiencies he had against a much better opponent.
Bloody and battered for majority of the fight, Sanchez just came out like a mad man in the third round as he ate punches just to land some of his own. To the delight of the crowd, he managed to land a huge uppercut that dropped Melendez and he rushed in to try and finish. Gilbert was able to survive though, and the two once again engaged in a firefight on the last seconds until the bell rang. It was truly an entertaining bout that had the crowd went crazy, and while Sanchez came close to securing an upset in the third, he wasn't able to do enough to take the victory. The final result: Gilbert Melendez def. Diego Sanchez by Decision (Unanimous, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
What was the high point?
The high point was definitely Diego Sanchez knocking down Melendez during the third after taking a beating during most of the contest. It looked like he clearly didn't have a chance against Gilbert, but "The Dream" displayed that heart he's known for and just went for it, leading to one of the more entertaining bouts this year.
What was the low point?
On the fight itself? Nothing. Diego, as always, made sure it was entertaining from bell to bell. The low point for me though, was the post-fight interview which had Diego slurring badly. He gets into all these wars against guys who are more technical than him, and while he always 'brings it', it makes me worry about his long term health with the accumulation of damage he takes.
Where do they go from here?
Melendez is looking for another title shot, but I personally don't think one win over Sanchez should earn him that. A bout against T.J. Grant for the next shot at Pettis' title seems more appealing.
Diego on the other hand, seems to have found a better way to make the lightweight limit, so he will likely take on another contender soon. Maybe a bout against Nate Diaz could be interesting.
Watch it now, later, or never?
Now. I may not agree with all the hyperbole Joe Rogan spat out about this being the absolute best fight he has ever seen in his life, but it truly is a must watch, and is one of the more entertaining contests of the year.
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