Alvarez wins close split decision over Melendez in UFC 188 co-main

BY Elias Cepeda • June 13, 2015

Eddie Alvarez earned a surprise split-decision victory over Gilbert Melendez in the co-main event of UFC 188 after three bloody rounds. Scores were 29-28 (twice) and 28-29 in favor of the Philly slugger.

Melendez landed the biggest shots of the fight, early in the first. A big overhand right and right elbow were the only notable moments of offense in the first period, both for the Californian.

Heading into the second, Alvarez' left eye was almost completely closed up from the damage. In the second, Melendez landed another overhand right punch but Alvarez found his mark with two big left hooks to the head.

Alvarez went to his wrestling late in the round, scoring a takedown. Melendez bounced back to his feet quickly, however, shortly before the end of the round.

In the third, Alvarez went back to his wrestling and scored two more takedowns in the period. He also was the far more aggressive and active fighter, overall, in the final round.

Melendez mostly breathed heavily through the third round and countered Alvarez' take downs and strikes. As the round and fight drew to a close, "El Nino" got busted up as well, and the right side of his face turned crimson. 

The judges apparently awarded Alvarez' aggression and strong finish over Melendez' early damage. The win is Alvarez' first in the UFC, while the loss is Melendez' second straight.

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