Round 1: Sanchez runs across the Octagon. Melendez lands a leg kick. Melendez throws a high kick. Sanchez catches it and takes him down. Melendez rolls and stand but Sanchez takes his back. Melendez shakes him off and lands a hard hook to the body. Melendez lands a right hand to the body followed by a right hand to the head. Sanchez answers with a kick to the body. Melendez presses forward. Sanchez changes levels and tries to get the fight to the ground. Melendez shakes off the attempt and lands a right hand. Sanchez gets a takedown stuffed. Melendez lands to the body. Melendez delivers a big right hand. Sanchez lands a kick to the body. Melendez catches and drives him to the cage. Melendez is setting the pace. Sanchez is cut over his left eye. Sanchez looks for a takedown but Melendez has none of it. Melendez continues to land to the body. Sanchez lands a hard kick to the body. They exchange and Sanchez picks up his pace. They stand and trade. Melendez lands a right hand that staggers Sanchez and briefly knocks him down. The round ends.
Round 2: Melendez lands a right hand to start the second frame. Sanchez answers with a leg kick. Melendez goes to the body with a right hand. Melendez lands a right hand. Sanchez lands a combination. Melendez fires back with a right hand. The referee decides to check the cut over Sanchez’ eye. The cut is bad. He’s allowed to continue. The fight is restarted. Melendez lands a right hand as Sanchez leaped in with a knee. They exchange along the cage with both landing right hands. Sanchez slips and bounces back to his feet. Melendez delivers a counter right hand. Sanchez lands a solid kick to the body. Melendez presses forward. He lands a combination. Sanchez secures a takedown but Melendez immediately gets back to his feet. Sanchez gets clipped with a right hand while moving forward. He looks for a takedown but Melendez stuffs it and lands a knee on the break. The round ends.
Round 3: Sanchez’ corner tells him he knees a knockout to win. The meet in the middle of the cage. Sanchez lands a lead uppercut. Melendez delivers a combination. They exchange and Melendez lands a right hand. They exchange and Melendez lands right hand. They stand toe-to-toe and throw bombs. Sanchez is fired up. Melendez delivers a stiff right hand. Sanchez’ face is busted up. The referee decides to check Sanchez’ cut. The cut extends the length of his eyebrow. The doctor okays him to continue and the fight is restarted at the midway mark. Sanchez lands a hard kick to the body. The crowd chats, “Diego!” Sanches moves forward pounding his chest. Sanchez lands a right hand. Sanchez lands a right hand uppercut that drops Melendez. He pounces on him. Sanchez applies a guillotine choke but loses it. Melendez gains top position. They’re back standing. Melendez lands an elbow. Sanchez lands a kick to the body. Melendez takes Sanchez down. Sanchez switches and scrambles to his feet. Sanchez lands another kick to the body followed by another. They slug it out in the final seconds. That is the fight of the year so far.
The judges scored the fight for Melendez by unanimous decision. The scorecards read 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28.
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