Last month, Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson battled in the consensus best fight of the year.
They had nothing on Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez, who according to UFC announcer Joe Rogan and masses of social media commenters, not only had the fight of the year but delivered the most entertaining fight of all time.
From the get-go, the two exhibited a frenetic pace and relentless desire to win in their UFC 166 match. Quicker and more technical, Melendez routinely beat Sanchez to the punch, but “The Dream” used his remarkable toughness to stay competitive, albeit on the losing end of the scorecards, throughout.
And though the beating he took in the first two rounds left his face an absolute mess, Sanchez refused to back down from his more dominant opponent. That will enabled Sanchez to even get the better of Melendez during various third round exchanges, one of which knocked a battered Melendez to the mat.
To Melendez’ credit, he was every bit as tough and aggressive as his notoriously crazy opponent, and he played a very important part in helping the entire fight, and particularly the third round, epitomize the word “war.”
Melendez scored the 29-28, 30-27, 29-28 unanimous decision, but Diego Sanchez returned to superstar status with a crowd that could not have been more behind his performance.