Boxing has Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward and now mixed martial
arts has Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez after a three round
slugfest and classic that left the entire crowd at the Toyota
Center in Houston on their feet.
Rarely can fights with so much hype live up to expectations, but
Melendez and Sanchez gave everything they had and more over the
course of 15 minutes on Saturday night.
In the early going, Melendez was timing Sanchez perfectly
landing big shots throughout the first round eventually dropping
the former Ultimate Fighter winner to one knee just before the end
of the five minute session.
Never one to slow down, however, Sanchez came firing back like a
machine gun in the second round. Despite a huge gash over his left
eye, Sanchez pushed forward and invited Melendez to stand and trade
Once again, Melendez got the best of Sanchez in the exchanges
but the flurries between the two fighters were unbelievably fast as
sweat and blood were flying around the Octagon.
The third round saw Sanchez’s best when he clipped Melendez and
put him down on the canvas. He tried valiantly to grab hold of a
choke, but the fighters were so covered in sweat by that point that
any submission was going to be nearly impossible to finish.
The final moments of the fight were some of the fastest and most
brutal exchanges in MMA history with both fighters just standing,
feet planted on the mat, and winging huge punches at each other.
Houston Rockets stars Dwight Howard and James Harden could be seen
Octagon side standing and applauding when the fight finally came to
The scores were unanimous across the board with Melendez getting
the win (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) and even though Sanchez was handed a
defeat there were no losers in what will certainly go down as one
of the best fights in the history of the UFC Octagon.
Melendez (22-3) said post fight that he’s gunning for a title
shot and after a performance like he put on Saturday night it would
be hard to deny him another crack at the belt.