Diego Sanchez's life has been such a roller coaster, we've only been treated to his presence inside the cage about once per year dating back to 2008. That's a shame, too, considering his propensity for delivering the "Fight of the Night" each time out.
Well, he was back tonight (Sat., Oct. 19, 2013) on the main card of the UFC 166: "Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3" event at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, in a lightweight showdown against Gilbert Melendez. The expectation, of course, is that it would be the best fight on the card.
It certainly lived up to the hype in the first round, as patience quickly gave way to all out aggression. Sanchez was missing just enough that he traded accuracy for balls out war, unloading a series of punches that had "El Nino" staggering back.
Melendez, not to be outdone, bit down and gave it right back just as hard as he was getting it. This resulted in a knockdown at the end of the opening frame.
The blistering pace slowed in the second, and timing became more of the focus. Sanchez utilized more kicks to the body while Melendez looked to exploit a big cut over Diego's left eye that was opened in the first.
Into the third, Sanchez completely threw caution to the wind and just started banging. "Diego Sanchez is a savage," color commentator Joe Rogan opined while "The Nightmare" was firing off with haymaker after haymaker.
The problem, of course, is Melendez refused to wilt and weathered the storm while mixing in far more effective offense of his own. At least, that was the case early in the round.
Then, late, Sanchez rocked Melendez with a hard shot somewhere in the onslaught of punches he was throwing. "El Nino" survived but only to see Sanchez slap a guillotine on him. That didn't work and they rest with about one minute left in the fight as the Texas crowd roared in approval.
They sustained the applause as the two combatants in the cage went to the final horn giving everything they had left.
Although I'm not sure we can consider either man a loser here, the judges ultimately ruled in favor of Melendez by scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 29-28.
For complete UFC 166 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.