Gilbert Melendez returns to the Octagon at UFC 239

Nate Diaz, Gilbert Melendez
Image: @natediaz209 on Instagram

Former UFC title challenger and Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (22-7) returns to fight Arnold Allen (14-1) at UFC 239 on July 6.

Whilst many admire Melendez’s longstanding MMA career beginning in 2002, especially his successful Strikeforce bouts against champions such as Jorge Masvidal and Josh Thomson, the Stockton-based fighter has struggled to achieve long-term success in the UFC’s Octagon. Melendez recently took a two-year hiatus following a four-fight losing streak. His last fight was a loss to featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens.

Melendez was scheduled to return last year to fight Allen, who is a 25-year-old UK fighter and one of the most exciting rising talents in the featherweight division. Regrettably, the UFC’s first attempt at booking this fight didn’t come to fruition. Allen’s 7-fight winning streak makes him a formidable opponent for the returning Melendez.

The result of the fight will be a defining moment in the career of both competitors.

UFC 239 is scheduled for July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and is headlined by a light heavyweight bout that will see the champion Jon Jones take on ferocious Brazilian challenger Thiago Santos. The co-main event will see two-division champion Amanda Nunes defending her title against former bantamweight champ Holly Holm.

The current fight card stands as follows (more names are expected to be announced):

  • Jon Jones (C) vs. Thiago Santos – for UFC light heavyweight championship
  • Amanda Nunes (C) vs. Holly Holm – for UFC bantamweight championship
  • Claudia Gadelha vs. Randa Markos
  • Diego Sanchez vs. Michael Chiesa
  • Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Jack Marshman
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Junior dos Santos
  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Luke Rockhold
  • Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren
  • Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera
  • Gilbert Melendez vs. Arnold Allen

Who do you think will come out on top when Gilbert Melendez and Arnold Allen collide at UFC 237?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 5/9/2019.