Each December I count down the top 25 fights in UFC history. With each day of December, I will be revealing the newest fight on the list, with the #1 fight being revealed on Christmas morning. With approximately 550-600 new UFC fights each year, the list will look different than the year before. The criteria for ranking these fights are the amount of action, competitiveness, and significance of the fight (main events/title fights tend to get some extra credit).
So let’s get to it
List so far
* The list was completed before Camacho/Brown, Medeiros / Oliveira, and Alvarez / Gaethje occurred, all would have been considered for the list
- #25 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Randy Couture
- #24 Cheick Kongo vs Pat Barry
- #23 Chris Leben vs Yoshihiro Akiyama
- #22 Frank Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz
- #21 Andrei Arlovski vs Travis Browne
- #20 Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard 2 & 3
- #19 Georges St. Pierre vs Johny Hendricks
- #18 Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva
- #17 Diego Sanchez vs Karo Parisyan
- #16 Karo Parisyan vs Nick Diaz
- #15 Johny Hendricks vs Robbie Lawler 1 & 2
- #14 Diego Sanchez vs Nick Diaz
- #13 Justin Gaethje vs Michael Johnson
- #12 Matt Hughes vs Frank Trigg 2
- #11 Mark Hunt vs Antonio Silva 1
- #10 Jose Aldo Jr vs Chad Mendes 2
- #9 Diego Sanchez vs Clay Guida
- #8 Randy Couture vs Pedro Rizzo 1
- #7 Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson
#6 Gilbert Melendez vs Diego Sanchez
Main Card of UFC 166
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
2 long time lightweight greats that were constantly in entertaining fights that somehow never faced each other. Lucky for everyone, they finally met.
First round starts and Sanchez catches a kick from Melendez and gets a takedown. Melendez gives up his back, and Sanchez sinks in his hooks and looks for a rear-naked choke. Melendez stands up and Sanchez falls off. Melendez lands a three punch combination. Melendez lands a right hand on the body and then the head. Melendez stuffs a takedown attempt and lands a knee and a right hand as Sanchez gets up. Melendez lands two punches. Melendez stuffs another takedown attempt and lands a hard punch to the body. Melendez lands a 1-2 combination and follows it up with a huge right hand. Sanchez lands a kick to the body. Melendez responds with another huge right hand. Melendez lands an uppercut that cuts Sanchez open. Sanchez counters with a left hook. Both guys sit in the pocket and start throwing bombs. Melendez stuffs another takedown attempt and lands an uppercut. Sanchez responds with two kicks to the body. Melendez lands a left hook, and Sanchez lands a 3 punch combination Melendez lands a high kick and both guys start landing bombs again. Melendez drops Sanchez with a straight right. He lands 3 hard left hands as Sanchez gets up and the round ends. 10-9 Melendez.
2nd round begins and Melendez lands 3 right hands. Sanchez counters with a 1-2 combination. Melendez lands a right hand, and Sanchez lands an uppercut. Melendez lands a high kick and a kick to the body. Sanchez lands a flying knee. Melendez responds with a body and head combination. Melendez follows up with a 1-2 combination. Melendez lands another right hand. Sanchez slips on a high kick and gets tagged with 3 right hands on the way up. Melendez lands two more right hands. Sanchez lands a body kick, and Sanchez lands another right hand. Melendez follows up with a 3 punch combination. Sanchez gets a double leg takedown, but Melendez gets right up. Sanchez lands a right hand and leg kick. Melendez jabs and both fighters exchange right hands. Melendez finishes the round by landing a 1-2 combination, stuffing a takedown and landing another right hand. 10-9 Melendez.
The third round begins and Sanchez lands an uppercut. Melendez counters with a 1-2 combination. Both fighters get in the pocket and start landing bombs. Melendez counters with back to back 1-2 combination. Both fighters start throwing bombs again. Melendez lands 3 straight right hands. And they both start throwing bombs again. Really crazy action. The fighters exchange left hands. Melendez lands 3 1-2 combinations. Sanchez lands a body kick and a leg kick. Melendez counters with 2 right hands. Sanchez lands his own 3 punch combination. Melendez lands a 1-2 combination. Sanchez lands a left hook and 2 right hands. Melendez lands a right hand but is dropped by a huge uppercut. Sanchez takes the back of a downed Melendez. Melendez scramble but Sanchez locks in a guillotine choke. Melendez gets out and they scramble to their feet. Melendez lands a knee, elbow and right-hand combination. He follows up with a right hand. Sanchez lands a hard leg kick, but Melendez lands a 3 punch combination. Sanchez misses a punch and Melendez takes his back and takes him down. Sanchez lands a back elbow and then a very slick switch. They scramble back the feet. Sanchez lands a body kick, and Melendez lands a jab. Sanchez lands a body kick. For the last 10 seconds of the fight, both guys stand in the pocket and throw everything they have. Crazy ending. One of the best rounds ever. 10-9 Sanchez.
Results and Notes:
Melendez wins a unanimous decision. As the fight ends, Joe Rogan says that it was “the greatest fight I have ever seen”.
Both fighters would have mixed results after this fight. Both fighters have had some legendary wars, but both Melendez and Sanchez seem to be at the end of their careers.