That fight was exactly what Gilbert Melendez needed. Melendez and Diego Sanchez stood toe-to-toe for an amazing fifteen minutes. Melendez was able to take a unanimous decision as he was pushing the action and clearly getting the better of their wild exchanges. Sanchez did manage to come back in the third round and floor Melendez with an uppercut, but Melendez was able to recover and went on to end the fight with one of the wildest exchanges the UFC has ever seen.
Everyone knew that Melendez was a great fighter; we saw that in his title fight with Ben Henderson, but he was still lacking in UFC appeal. He needed to show that he belonged, and why he was heralded for so long as an amazing fighter. Melendez was finally able to do that. He got his signature win and has just unlocked the door for a monsoon of fans. This is also a win for the UFC as well. They can now market Melendez as an exciting fighter because he finally did it on the big stage, against a savage of an opponent too.
Melendez has also just tossed his hat back into the ring for number one contender. After a performance like that he now has the fan appeal to garner a title-shot against the winner of Anthony Pettis and Josh Thomson. Either of those fighters would be a great challenge for Melendez and it makes perfect sense. If Thomson wins, we get to see Thomson and Melendez have a fourth bout and if Pettis wins, he gets another defense against a respectable fighter. Melendez did what he wanted to do; he made an impact in the UFC.