After a disappointing performance at UFC 171, veteran lightweight Diego Sanchez is being given the chance to rebound in a hometown fight. The Albuquerque native will battle Ross Pearson at a Fight Night event in New Mexico on June 7. Pearson is returning from a knee injury that led to the cancellation of a scheduled rematch against Melvin Guillard at Fight Night 37 in England.
Sanchez blamed a case of food poisoning for a subpar performance against the unbeaten Myles Jury in Dallas. “The Dream” had a nightmare of a time in getting to Jury and wasn’t able to engage in one of his usual brawls. The 25-year old Jury fought a highly effective, controlled bout and did the bulk of the damage in earning a unanimous decision win.
It deflated the momentum that Sanchez had built in an epic clash against Gilbert Melendez at UFC 166 that ended in a loss. Both men came away winners after delivering a wild and violent three-round battle. This will be Sanchez’s 21st Octagon appearance, and he’s become a legendary figure in the organization because of his many wars. The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 middleweight winner will be fighting in his hometown for the first time since 2004.
Pearson is highly regarded because of his solid boxing skills, and the TUF Season 9 winner should be more than willing to provide Sanchez with the type of stand-and-trade battles that he prefers. “The Real Deal” has gone 2-0-1 in three appearances since making the move back up to the lightweight ranks.
His last Octagon appearance was a disappointing no-contest against Guillard at Fight Night 30 at O2 Arena. Pearson couldn’t continue after being on the receiving end of an accidental illegal knee in the opening round that opened up a serious cut on his forehead.
This is exactly the type of fight that Sanchez would’ve hoped for after a frustrating matchup against the technically sound Jury. Pearson has also forged a reputation of being a tough, rugged competitor, which should lead to a thrilling slugfest in Albuquerque.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports