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Tag: Gilbert Melendez

The Winner of Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant at UFC 160 Next in Line for Lightweight Title Shot

If you think Gilbert Melendez deserves an immediate rematch, don’t bother reading the article. Just stare at this GIF for five seconds and go directly to the comments section.

If you watched UFC on Fox 7′s main event between UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez, you saw an extremely close fight. In the end, Henderson walked away with a split decision victory that many fans felt should have went to Melendez. While the debate over who won the fight continues to rage on [Author Note: For what it's worth, Fight Metric stats seem to confirm that Henderson won.], the talks of an immediate rematch have already been squashed.

By the end of the post-event press conference, Dana White confirmed that the winner of the upcoming bout between Gray Maynard and TJ Grant at UFC 160 – which takes place on May 25 – is next in line for a shot at the lightweight title. At this time, there is no target date for Henderson’s next title defense. In White’s own words:

Gray Maynard is ranked number three. TJ Grant is ranked number seven. Those guys are gonna fight at UFC 160 on May 25. The winner of that fight is gonna fight Ben Henderson next.

So, we’re now pretending that those “official UFC rankings” are influencing how fighters earn title shots? I’m sure Chad Mendes, Ricardo Lamas and Chan Sung Jung will be thrilled by this recent development.


UFC on Fox 7 Aftermath: Nasty Finishes & A Disputed Decision

(Photo by Esther Lin | MMAFighting)

By Elias Cepeda 

UFC on Fox 7 was a violent and almost uniformly fought at a furious pace over the course of twelve preliminary and main card bouts. Eight bouts finished inside of the distance, and the main event was five close-fought, damaging rounds long.

Welterweights Matt Brown and Jordan Mein each got extra $50,000 bonus checks for putting on the fight of the night and Josh Thomson and Yoel Romero each got knockout of the night awards and 50k bonuses.

Thomson returned to the UFC in style by handing Nate Diaz his first ever stoppage loss – a second round TKO stoppage. Romero caught Clifford Starks with a flying knee and won a quick via quick TKO.

Neither Daniel Cormier nor Frank Mir won extra bonuses for their three-round heavyweight bout. Cormier did continue to show that he is a legitimate contender in the division, on the strength of his world-class wrestling skills and speed, despite being vastly undersized.

As they took the center of the Octagon, the smaller Cormier looked like he was facing his uncle in the large former two-time heavyweight champ Mir. Once Cormier got a hold of Mir, over and over again throughout the fight, it was the two-time Olympic wrestler that looked like a man fighting a child.

Cormier clinched with Mir, pressed him against the cage, let go and, on separation, unloaded nasty hooks and uppercuts to the head and body of Mir, along with elbows and knees before clinching back up and rinsing and repeating. As the fight wore on and Mir proved helpless against Cormier’s strategy, referee Herb Dean didn’t like Cormier’s dominance so he tried, as all refs disturbingly seem to be instructed to do, to give Mir more of a chance by breaking up the clinch work quickly but that couldn’t stop the wrestler from continuing to close the distance.

Mir would not be mentally broken despite eating big shots and being ground down, and he fought hard in the third round – throwing hard punches and knees. The ones that did connect, however, were absorbed by Cormier, and he just went back to pressing Mir against the cage and doing short striking work at will.

Cormier fought the smartest fight he could against a much larger, more experienced opponent. The cerebral fighter knew that the middle was his friend. Had he stayed out on the outside, Mir might have used his far superior reach to land big shots.

Had Cormier taken Mir down (he did so once, with a single leg, but did not follow Mir to the ground. Choosing instead, to let the Jiu Jitsu master stand up and eat an over hand right), he would have let the black belt do work where he was most comfortable and dangerous. So, Cormier did what he should have – control the clinch and then use his superior speed to land at will on separation.

I don’t know how long this lightweight/welterweight-heighted phenom will continue to be successful at heavyweight, but so far he can count two former UFC heavyweight champs as wins, as well as the #1 contender to the belt right now, Antonio Silva. It has been fun to watch Cormier figure out how to win fights at heavyweight.


UFC on FOX 7: Henderson vs. Melendez — Live Results and Commentary

(Premature celebration. Always a great idea. / Photo via For more images from this set, click here.)

Tonight at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, top-ranked lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez will finally get his chance to prove himself in the Octagon — with Benson Henderson‘s belt on the line — while undefeated phenom Daniel Cormier will attempt to justify his own swelling hype in a heavyweight matchup with Frank Mir. Add in all the other UFC vs. Strikeforce matchups, and you basically have MMA’s version of the Sharks vs. the Jets, but with the dance steps replaced by middle fingers in your got-damn face. So will the latest batch of Strikeforce crossovers make the grade or will they go up in smoke?

Taking you through the action tonight is our good friend Elias Cepeda, who’s giving us round-by-round results from the UFC on FOX 7 main card broadcast after the jump beginning at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and share your own thoughts in the comments section.


Breaking Down All Eight ‘UFC vs. Strikeforce’ Bouts on This Saturday’s Henderson vs. Melendez Card

As we pointed out on Facebook earlier today, the entire main card of this Saturday’s UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Melendez event features a UFC veteran taking on a former Strikeforce standout. What’s more, there are four fights on the prelims that fit this same pattern. While the UFC has set up cards along national lines in the past — see UFC 58: USA vs. Canada and UFC 117: USA vs. Brazil, Pretty Much they’ve never been this overt with their UFC vs. Strikeforce matchmaking. Will the UFC vets fight harder in an attempt to defend their turf? Will the Strikeforce crossovers band together to continue their invasion of the Octagon? Take a look at all eight matchups below and let us know which side you think will emerge victorious.

Headshot images via Card/The UG.

The odds say: Bendo is a strong favorite to defend his belt at -250.
We say:
When you put this much talent into the cage at the same time, anything can happen. But while we think this fight will be closer than the betting line reflects, there’s been an unbreakable, unstoppable quality to Henderson’s performances during his 6-0 UFC run. Until we see how Melendez actually performs in the Octagon, we’re picking the champ.

The odds say: Cormier is a virtual lock at -375.
We say:
That sounds about right. Cormier has all the skills to be a future UFC champ, and barring any freakish leglocks, Frank Mir is just a stop along the way.


[VIDEO] UFC on Fox 7: Melendez vs. Henderson — ‘Road to the Octagon’ Preview Show


It’s as simple as this — Saturday’s UFC on Fox 7: Henderson vs. Melendez card features top-ranked fighters and heavy stakes. As such, we love getting a lil’ something extra in anticipation of it. This UFC on Fox 7: Road to the Octagon documentary gives us just that, including behind-the-scenes footage with Benson Henderson (competing at a Jiu Jitsu tournament with his mom, working out with the NFL’s Larry Fitzgerald), Gilbert Melendez (at home and at work with his ex-fighter fiance and business partner, chilling with his tight-knit ‘Skrap Pack’), Frank Mir (crying, and on a flight to New Mexico to conduct the first training camp of his career away from his wife and twenty kids) and more pre-fight action from Josh Thomson, Nate Diaz, and Daniel Cormier.

It’s a good way to waste your lunch hour today — better, at least, than talking to that weird guy at the office who always just eats a can of soup for lunch, like, every day. (Seriously? Get some protein in there, you’re a grown ass man.) Anyway, watch it and tune in Saturday. It’s free, so you’ve got no excuse not to, fight fans.

-Elias Cepeda


[VIDEO] Benson Henderson Competes at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Pan-Am Championships

(Video by Budo Videos)

Last week, UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson was just one month away from a nationally televised title defense against Gilbert Melendez, but he still managed to get in a couple Jiu Jitsu matches in one of the world’s most prestigious grappling tournaments. Henderson competed in the brown belt ability division of the BJJ Pan-Am Championships last week and, though he was eventually eliminated and did not place, he showed that he could hang with guys who spend all of their time training in BJJ’s weird set of gi rules, despite doing it just as a hobby.

In the above match, Henderson takes on Brazilian Pedro Alcantara in the middleweight division. The action comes in spurts but the match is very closely contested with Alcantara threatening with omo-plata shoulder locks and sweeps off of his back, and Henderson defending, working for take downs and passing guard.

The two start the match feinting with shot attempts before Alcantara pulls full guard. It doesn’t take him long to pull in Henderson’s right shoulder and work for triangle chokes, which the fighter shrugs off, and then shoulder locks. Initially, Alcantara is able to use the lock to sweep Henderson, earning points.

Henderson hangs tough and refuses to let Alcantara pass his guard. Eventually, Henderson is able to stand up and score a take down. On the ground, he proves better at passing than Alcantara was and pressures and angles until he secures the side mount and earns more points.

Recovering his guard, Alcantara threatens more with the shoulder lock, but this time Henderson will not be moved, and effectively stops both the submission and sweep attempts. The match ends and Henderson has won on points.


Gracie, Mousasi, Marquardt Among Strikeforce Fighters Headed to the UFC

(Oh yeah, this guy is headed over as well. Thank God for that.)

As we reported yesterday, Jorge Gurgel’s claim that the fighters who came up short at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine would find themselves out of a UFC contract was not exactly truthful. KJ Noons, Kurt Holobaugh, and Anthony Smith, for example, all suffered defeats at the event and were ironically the first names to be mentioned in the Strikeforce/UFC…migration, I guess?

On last night’s edition of UFC Tonight, the full list of Strikeforce fighters who would be making the transition to the big leagues was announced, and suffice it to say, there were a couple rather puzzling omissions and inclusions. After the jump is that full list, along with our thoughts on who some of these gentlemen should face in their UFC debuts.

-Daniel Cormier (11-0 MMA, 8-0 SF)

-Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2 MMA, 4-1-1 SF)
-Gian Villante (10-3 MMA, 3-2 SF)


Ben Henderson to Defend Lightweight Title Against Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 7 in April

(Photo via Esther Lin for Strikeforce)

Update: The booking has been confirmed.

According to a new report from MMAFighting that cites “sources with knowledge of the situation,” reigning UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson will attempt to make his third title-defense against longtime Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 7, which is slated to go down April 20th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

Henderson is coming off arguably the most impressive win of his career, dominating Gilbert’s homey Nate Diaz for five rounds in their meeting last month at UFC on FOX 5. It was the sixth-consecutive win for “Smooth” since he migrated to the UFC from the WEC, though Henderson has yet to score a stoppage victory in the Octagon. That’s not likely to change against Melendez, who has never been knocked out or submitted in 23 professional fights.

Melendez picked up his seventh-straight win in May 2012, winning a split-decision in a rubber match against Josh Thompson. Since then, the Cesar Gracie product has been sidelined by injury after injury. And though we were skeptical of Melendez’s latest withdrawal — the Cesar Gracie fighter had much more to lose from a fight against Pat Healy at Strikeforce’s final event than he stood to gain, and may have acted accordingly — it’s clear that his devious plan worked.

But before you go booking your travel plans, MMAFighting adds this caveat:


Gilbert Melendez to “Probably” Receive an Immediate UFC Title Shot When Strikeforce Finally Dies

(And there was much rejoicing…)

If any of you were questioning Gilbert Melendez’s decision to remain off Strikeforce’s final card in January, maybe now you can see his motivation. In a recent interview with MMAJunkie, Dana White revealed that “El Nino” would “probably” receive an immediate title shot when he makes the trip over to the UFC, a statement that will more than likely be responsible for hundreds of conspiracy theories regarding the legitimacy of Melendez’s recent injuries. Of course, this came just before The Baldfather lamented about how bad Strikeforce fighters have had it since the UFC absorbed the promotion (presumably while mimicking Shooter McGavin), so perhaps we should take his statement with a grain of salt:

(Melendez will) probably come right in and get a title shot. Again, we’ll see.

What has happened to the fighters in Strikeforce is horrible. The way this thing went down is horrible, and they’ve been very patient. What’s happened over there has been completely s—ty.

Right, and we’re sure Hitler felt awfully bad about the living conditions at Auschwitz as well. “No veigh? Zey don’t even get a nice cot to szleep on? Zose bastards!” We’re not comparing Dana White to Hitler, we’re just saying.


Gilbert Melendez Makes His Case for a ‘Champion vs. Champion’ Fight Against Benson Henderson

(Melendez slugs Shinya Aoki in the head, back when slugging Shinya Aoki in the head actually meant something. / Photo via Esther Lin)

Though he’s still recovering from the nagging shoulder injury that pulled him off of Strikeforce’s possibly-final event (and led to the straight-up cancellation of their previous card) Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez knows exactly what he wants to do when he’s healthy again — roll the dice against UFC champ Ben Henderson. The Cesar Gracie product, who just saw his homeboy Nate Diaz get run over by Bendo last weekend, pleaded his case in a new interview with BleacherReport, running down all the reasons why he should get the next crack at Henderson:

I think a champion versus champion fight makes absolute sense right now. I think we already know how things are going to work out between Benson Henderson and a lot of other lightweight fighters in the UFC, but I’m that mystery fighter. No one really knows how I’m going to matchup with anyone. I have been around for a long time and have been the top lightweight in the world before Benson or any of these other guys.

I think I have a lot of answers for his style. Sometimes he fights a wrestler like Guida who doesn’t have great hands, and sometimes he fights strikers who can’t really wrestle. Look at his fights against “Cowboy” Cerrone back in the day, or even Pettis. I have that wrestling pedigree where he ain’t taking me down, and I’ll be stuffing some shots. I’m not backing away, and I’ll be dropping some bombs. I’m not an easy guy to stand with. I have a lot of power, and I’m not running away from kicks. I don’t run away from anything. I hold my ground. I’ll be coming for him, and anything he dishes out I’ll be answering back twice as hard.”

Later in the interview, Melendez discussed how the reports of Strikeforce’s impending demise — and the coronation of Ronda Rousey as the UFC’s first women’s champion — actually got him excited about the future again, since Melendez could finally get the opportunity to fight some of the best lightweights in the world: