Veteran UFC lightweight Diego Sanchez is hoping some home cooking can inspire a strong bounce-back effort this weekend at Fight Night 42.
The Albuquerque native will have the hometown crowd firmly behind him when he faces Ross Pearson in a fight that has terrific potential. Sanchez is looking to get back on track after a poor showing against Myles Jury at UFC 171, while “The Real Deal” is returning from a knee injury that scuttled a rematch against Melvin Guillard at Fight Night 37.
Sanchez had a rough night against the unbeaten Jury back in March as he was beaten to the punch throughout in losing a unanimous decision. It definitely took away the momentum from his violent clash against Gilbert Melendez at UFC 166. Sanchez lost that fight against “El Nino”, but the epic nature of the bout raised his stock. However, a third straight setback would definitely leave his career at a crossroads.
It’s the first time that Sanchez has fought in his hometown since 2004, and you can bet that the Ultimate Fighter Season 1 winner will look to put on a show in the UFC’s first-ever event in New Mexico.
Pearson has the type of style that could lead to a possible Fight of the Night between two gritty competitors. The Season 9 TUF Winner has superb boxing skills and should be more than willing to engage with Sanchez in a toe-to-toe battle. Pearson has enjoyed recent success since making the move back up to lightweight after being stopped by featherweight contender Cub Swanson. He recorded TKO wins over George Sotiropoulos and Ryan Couture before an unsatisfactory no-contest against Guillard in his last Octagon appearance at Fight Night 30.
This is the type of matchup that should allow Sanchez to get back to his brawling ways and become “The Nightmare” of old. He will always be a popular figure as being part of the star-studded original cast of The Ultimate Fighter, and because of his fan-friendly style. Despite all of the thrills he’s produced over the years, Sanchez finds himself badly in need of a victory. He’s never lost three straight fights in his career.
Pearson will no doubt be a tough challenge, and should be able to deliver the type of slugfest that Sanchez has always embraced during his Octagon career. It’s a contest that should produce fireworks and possibly some post-fight bonuses.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports