In the main event at UFC on Fox 7, UFC Lightweight champion Ben Henderson (18-2 MMA; 6-0 UFC) puts his title on the line against former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez (21-2 MMA; UFC Debut). The official UFC rankings currently have this as a battle between the #1 Lightweight and #5 pound for pound fighter in the world against the #1 contender. UFC on Fox 7 airs live from San Jose, CA this Saturday, April 20, on Fox with the main card starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
A few months ago, the UFC was calling 2013 the year of the superfight. For many MMA fans, this one definitely qualifies. You have here an unofficial title unification bout, as the last Strikeforce champion comes in to challenge the reigning UFC champion. It's also a chance for Melendez to avenge the loss of his longtime training partner Nate Diaz. More than that, it's just an incredible stylistic match-up, between two of the very best out there today. This is going to be good.
How do these two stack up?
Henderson: 29 years old | 5'9" | 70" reach
Melendez: 31 years old | 5'9" | 71" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Champion Benson Henderson is making the 3rd defense of the UFC Lightweight title he won from Frankie Edgar last year. His last defense came at the expense of Nate Diaz. Since coming to the WEC four years ago, Henderson has been on a rampage, ripping through every opponent outside of a lone loss to Anthony Pettis in the final WEC fight. His combination of explosive wrestling, strong striking, and incredible submission defense has made him a true force - not just in the Lightweight division, but as a pound for pound great as well.
"El Nino" Gilbert Melendez is a fighter that many fans have been clamoring to see in the UFC for years. A veteran of Pride and Strikeforce primarily, Melendez started his career with a very impressive 13 fight undefeated streak. He ran into some troubles in 2007/2008 losing two out of three fights, but has gone back to his winning ways since. He's currently on a 7 fight win streak through the Strikeforce Lightweight division that includes the likes of Josh Thomson and Shinya Aoki. Melendez is a Cesar Gracie disciple, and while he has good striking and jiu jitsu, wrestling remains his base.
Why should you care?
I've wanted to see Melendez fighting inside the Octagon for a LONG time. Now, I get my wish, and against the champion no less? Sign me up.