After being treated to two first-round knockouts, the action shifted to the lightweight division where former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and former UFC title contender Diego Sanchez were looking to remain in the title picture.
Sanchez ducked under a head kick to get things going and immediately jumped on Melendez’s back, but Melendez was able to shake off Sanchez and get the action right back to the center of the cage. Melendez was looking to work the body early in an attempt to empty the gas tank of Sanchez, but you will be hard pressed to find someone with a bigger heart in the sport.
The body shots were taking their toll on Sanchez near the midway point of the round and he was slowing down and not coming forward at his usual guns blazing pace.
Sanchez had a cut on his eye after eating a big pench from Melendez, but that is when Sanchez really begins to turn things on.
Sanchez fired back with a wild combination that landed on Melendez and both fighters were able to land significant shots. Sanchez got the worst of the exchanges and dropped right to the mat, but he bounced right back up and continued to throw his wild punches for an exciting end to the round.
Melendez was able to fire off first in Round 2, but you always know that Sanchez is going to come firing back.
With blood dripping from Sanchez’s eye, the doctors came in to examine the cut but he was determined to continue fighting. Action was restarted and the wild flurries of punches continued to fly as both men were able to stand toe-to-toe and show no fear.
Diego landed a takedown near the end of Round 2, but he was unable to do anything with the position and Melendez shot right back up to his feet.
Sanchez was continuing to eat punches as he searched to land his own, but he was getting the worst of the exchanges thanks to Melendez’s crisper and straighter shots.
After the second round, Greg Jackson told Sanchez that he was down two rounds and needed to come away with the knockout.
As the third round bell rang to get things going, Sanchez was more calculated in his attack, but Melendez was continuing to get on the worst end of the shots. After a few minutes, the two men went into beast mode as they threw some of the craziest exchanges that we have seen in recent memory. Sanchez was eating the punches as Melendez was wearing down.
After the action slowed down, the doctors once again stepped in but they allowed the action to continue despite the nasty cut above his eye.
With two and a half minutes to go, it was all or nothing for Sanchez as Melendez needed to fend off the final attack.
Sanchez landed a huge uppercut in the the wild exchanges and dropped Melendez to the mat and jumped on him in an attempt to end the fight. However, Melendez was able to weather the storm and come back for one final attack.
With twenty seconds to go, the flurries continued for one wild ending to an an incredible fight.
When the judges scorecards were read, it was ruled in favor of Melendez –29-28, 30-27, 29-28.
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