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UFC 166: Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez breakdown

Gilbert Melendez

So this is the most questionable match up I’ve seen Joe Silva put together for a long time, well besides the Cormier verus Nelson fight that is also on this card. Gilbert Melendez is coming off a split decision loss to Benson Henderson for the lightweight title and everybody and their brother thought he had won the fight. Whereas Diego Sanchez hasn’t been a relevant player in any division since 2007 and I don’t think “The Dream” or “The Nightmare” or whatever he’s calling himself these days will ever be a factor again. So here’s my breakdown for this UFC 166 bout.

Striking

Melendez is a phenomenal boxer with 11 of his 21 wins coming by way of knockout. Having trained with the likes of the Diaz brothers, both phenomenal boxers, and giving the former champ Ben Henderson all he could handle on the feet It’s safe to say El Nino is definitely a force to be reckoned with on the feet.

Diego Sanchez is no slouch on the feet either, his stand up is a little unorthodox and kind of reminds me of that fight where Nick Diaz began throwing crazy karate kicks because he was trying to psyche out his opponent and talk shit at the same time. Well if you think about that but with the ability to finish that’s kind of Sanchez’s style.

       Verdict: Edge Melendez.

Submissions

Gilbert Melendez trains out of the world famous Cesar Gracie academy in Stockton, California and owns a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu underneath Cesar. Out of his 21 wins he only has one win by submission, and that was submission due to punches, the big story here is the fact that Melendez can successfully defend submissions.

Sanchez is a great submission grappler. He doesn’t have the greatest takedowns, but his relentless pace and undying will power causes him to complete many of his shots. Sanchez is a Black Belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Gaidojutsu, and has won nine of his 24 wins by way of submission. So if the fight hits the ground Sanchez has the ability to finish.

       Verdict: Edge Sanchez.

Grappling

Melendez is usually known for using his wrestling in reverse to keep the fight standing against dangerous grapplers like Shinya Aoki, but against Sanchez, I wouldn’t be surprised if he uses his underrated wrestling prowess to take The Ultimate Fighter down and unleash some ground and pound. When rubbing elbows with Jake Shields and the Diaz brothers you know your grappling is sharp.

Sanchez is a great submission artist and has entered the Grapplers Quest Hall of Fame, but lately he hasn’t been showing off  these skills as much. This leads one to wonder if he is as sharp on the ground as he was in the past, and against a dangerous opponent like Melendez, you need to be confident in all your skills.

       Verdict: Slight edge Melendez.

Pick

So this fight has the potential to be an entertaining fight for the fans, especially on the feet. I don’t think Sanchez will be able to get the fight to the ground if he wanted to,thus leaving the fight on the feet. This will prove dangerous for The Ultimate Fighter as Melendez will probably take this by 2nd round TKO.

- Josh Leduc

 

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