Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez
The referee is Kerry Hatley. Diego races across the cage to meet Melendez, and Melendez circles around. Sanchez catches a kick attempt and dumps Melendez down, then rides his back around the cage. Finally Melendez shucks him, and delivers a couple of parting punches. Good action early. Sanchez, the southpaw, trying to size one up, and Melendez throwing small volume from afar. Sanchez attempts a double leg by Melendez keeps upright on fence, and they break. Back to center. Melendez changing levels, going to the body. Sanchez absorbs a pretty good one, and returns a straight leg kick which nicks Melendez kneecap. Right hand by Melendez gets through, and he catches a Sanchez kick and wheels him around the cage. They separate. Sanchez now bleeding over his eye. Melendez tossing the jab out there. He's clearly getting the better of all these exchanges. Uppercut by Melendez to the body, and Sanchez lands a nice right overhand. Big exchange and it looked like that time Melendez took the brunt of the it, as he peeled away in a fog. To close out the round, they stand toe-to-toe and trade punches. Crazy! Much like Guida/Sanchez. Sanchez was dropped momentarily with a shot. Crazy round.
Right back at it. Melendez now takes the middle of the cage, and Diego orbits. Melendez still setting up the big body shots with the jab, and he continues to tenderize Sanchez's ribs. Melendez with his hips on a swivel. Sanchez rushes forward with an overhand right, but can't land. They end up in a brush fire in the middle, each man clapping the other with a short shot. Great action again.Now Harley stops the action so that the doctor can look at Sanchez's cut eye. Sanchez says he's good, and we're back at it. Good body kick by Melendez, right as Sanchez went into his offensive motion. Melendez then gets Sanchez momentarily leaning on fence, and tees off. Lands a flurry of shots! Bot they back peddle into the middle, and reset. Sanchez slips and falls, but bounces back up before Melendez can get him. Another missed right hand by Sanchez, and Melendez snares him with a huge right counter that staggers Sanchez briefly. Blood running like a web down the side of Sanchez's face. Melendez still crisp with his combos. He still has good movement. Sanchez still taking the worst of the exchanges. He tries for a takedown, but that is stuff, and Melendez plants a knee into his face as they part. That's the bell. Sanchez all heart, but Melendez has an answer for everything he's seeing.
Final round. Melendez waves the left hand out there, and Sanchez comes in with an uppercut with great velocity. And here we go again, they stand toe-to-toe and exchange! Literally right in each other's wheelhouses. They both ate a ton there, and dished as much. Crowd loving it. Sanchez's face is a macabre scene. Unbelievable exchange there right in the middle, both men throwing caution to the wind. Once again the referee intervenes to have Sanchez's eye looked at. We're back at it. Sanchez tries a leg kick, and lands it, and eats a long jab for the trouble. And here we go again, they stand and trade right in the middle. Sanchez now smites his chest and says come on. Now Sanchez rocks him with a big punch and Melendez goes reeling backwards. Sanchez jumps on him! Trying to get a guillotine, but Melendez pops out. Wow! This fight is for the ages. A minute to go. Sanchez tries a spilling kick and inadvertently gives Melendez his back. But Sanchez reverses, and they slip off each other. Just all brawn and Adam's apple at the end here. And they throw down again at the end, hacking away at each other until the final bell!
UFC 166 results: Gilbert Melendez def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
I picked Melendez in my predictions because I didn't think Diego could win it (even though I've always been a fan) but I was rooting like crazy for him during the 3rd round. Great fight, what heart!!!
Rejoice ever more. 1 Thessalonians 5:16