Gilbert Melendez was one of Strikeforce’s top stars, and though he ruled the lightweight division there, when he finally made the pilgrimage to the Octagon, he was a tad past his prime.
Jeremy Stephens has been among the elite for a while, and despite never quite being able to beat the best, he’s proven to be more than capable of snuffing out just about everyone else.
From the outset, it’s clear Stephens is keen on using his lightning-like strikes to take chunks out of his foe. And it only takes a few kicks to the legs to see some success in that plan, as Melendez is soon hobbling, and eventually falls. But Melendez has always been one tough mofo, and despite the area where his shin connects with his knee swelling up in grotesque fashion, he goes after Stephens with his boxing. He even scores a bit with his hands. But that leg is too much of a target, and Stephens holds steady in targeting it.
In between rounds the doctor examines the swelling, and lets the bout continue. Again, Melendez goes down from Stephens’ kicks, and again he gets up and tries to gamely score with his fists. It’s all Stephens, though, and when Round 3 unfolds in similar fashion, the judges have a “no brainer” on their hands.
Results: Jeremy Stephens def. Gilbert Melendez via Unanimous Decision