“The Dream” will be looking to make a bad night for “El Nino” on a Saturday in Texas. Word has come out that Diego Sanchez will be taking on final Strikeforce lightweight champion Gil Melendez at UFC 166 on Oct. 19th.
MMA Junkie is reporting that the bout was confirmed by UFC officials earlier today.
Diego “The Dream” Sanchez (24-5) is the forgotten “Original Ultimate Fighter,” winning the welterweight side of the the program’s first season. Since that day in 2005, the tenacious grappler has been bouncing between 170 and a 155 lbs., changing divisions after a loss or two. While he tends to beat those on the fringes of the top 10, he tends to struggle when attempting to crack the top 5, with losses to Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and BJ Penn standing of note on his record. Coming off an arguable split decision victory over Takanori Gomi at UFC on Fuel TV 8, will “The Dream” be able to stop the force of nature that is “El Nino” and make it two wins in a row?
Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (21-3) was, for a time, the top non-UFC lightweight in the world, dominating competition on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. Now that he’s joined Zuffa’s mothership, he’s still in the top 5, even with a loss in his promotional debut against lightweight champion Benson Henderson. The hard-nosed wrestle boxer from the 209 has powerful hands and smothering top control, but appears to lack the submission game of his Skrap Pack counterparts in the Diaz Brothers and Jake Shields. Will he be able to bring his punishing takedowns and powerful punches to bear in order to crush “The Dream” and even up his UFC record?
UFC 166 goes down on October 19th, 2013, and will be emanating from the Toyota Center in Houston, TX. The main event is currently scheduled to be the trilogy bout for the UFC heavyweight title between the champion, Cain Velasquez, and his eternal rival, Junior dos Santos.