Melendez/Sanchez put on classic

Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez put on classic fight

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 with him.

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 an end.

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.

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