It has been a less than ideal run in the UFC so far for one of the lightweight division’s best in the former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez (22-7).
“El Nino” was once known as the king of Strikeforce as he dominated the 155-pound weight class having won the title on two separate occasions (three if you count interims) along with six title defenses (five excluding interim).
Upon the UFC’s purchase of Strikeforce, Melendez rightfully received an immediate title shot against the then UFC champion Benson Henderson. The two fought to an incredibly close decision that saw Henderson edging it out to retain. Since then, Melendez has gone 1-4 with his only victory coming in the classic war he had with Diego Sanchez in 2013.
Melendez took some time off prior to his last bout in September 2017 against Jeremy Stephens. And when he returned for the fight it was for his first fight at 145-pounds since 2003.
FloCombat has now reported that Melendez is back and a matchup between him and the hot prospect out of TriStar Gym, Arnold Allen (13-1) is in the works for UFC 232 on December 29.
The 24-year old Allen currently rides an impressive six-fight winning streak (four in the UFC) that includes exciting fights and wins over the likes Makwan Amirkhani and Mads Burnell.
Allen has proven to be one of the brightest prospects in the featherweight division and a bout with Melendez will surely be his most seasoned and experienced challenge to date.
As for the rest of UFC 232 which continues to shape up, this is how things currently stand for the UFC’s year-end throwdown:
Featherweight – 145lbs: (C)Cris Cyborg vs. (BW C)Amanda Nunes
Light Heavyweight – 205lbs: Ilir Latifi vs. Corey Anderson
Flyweight – 125lbs: Jessica Eye vs. Sijara Eubanks
Middleweight – 185lbs: Uriah Hall vs. Bevon Lewis
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 9/13/2018