Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez Planned for UFC Year-End Event in December

March 27, 2014
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Anthony Pettis vs Gilbert MelendezThe UFC lightweight title bout between champion Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez will take place on the UFC’s year-end event in December.

UFC president Dana White, along with Anthony and Sergio Pettis, were on a promotional trip to Puerto Rico on Wednesday where White made the announcement during a press conference, according to Puerto Rican newspaper Primera Hora reporter Raul Alzaga.

The event is likely to take place on Dec. 27 in Las Vegas, and would probably be designated UFC 182 as UFC 181 is already slated for Dec. 6 in Montreal.

Pettis has been sidelined recuperating from surgery in early December to repair a torn posterior cruciate ligament. Doctors expect him to be out of action for six to eight months from the time of the surgery.

Pettis had been targeting a summer return to the Octagon, but that was before the UFC re-signed Gilbert Melendez. When that happened, the promotion padded the time for Pettis’ return by making him and Melendez the coaches for season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter with a fight on tap after the series airs on television.

TUF 20 airs in the fall/winter months on Fox Sports 1, which aligns perfectly for their fight to land on the UFC’s annual year-end event.

By the time they fight, it will have been nearly a year and a half since Pettis last fought, when he won the lightweight belt from Benson Henderson at UFC 164 in August.

Melendez, however, won’t have much of a jump on him, since he last fought in October at UFC 166, when he defeated Diego Sanchez.

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  • InTheColosseumTonight

    Too long between defenses. Champions should be defending twice a year or there wont be enough fights for the ppvs. Everyone hates on Jon Jones but he consistently defends and is rarely injured.I really love to watch pettis fight but he fights too little and is injured too much. Gil is a durable fighter and he certainly has the tolls to give Pettis troubles

    • Wolf Ticket

      Right, but the problem now is not Pettis being injured, but the Ultimate Fighter. Why the hell do we have to delay the fight another 3-4 months just so that the guys will coach a bunch of guys, that will be released from the UFC soon after the show is over.

      Obviously, it’s just part of UFC matching Gil’s Bellator contract, but it makes no sense. Lightweight is ultra stacked, but all we see is contenders being built and then go away. OK, TJ Grant is not healthy now, but wtf to Pettis vs Thompson or Pettis vs Aldo? I’m just frustrated.

      • shakejunt

        well they’ll actually being coaching ladies in the strawweight tournament, but it’s definitely a bittersweet situation having a champ coach. pettis needs this kind of exposure though. his injuries have really left him out of the spotlight despite being one of the most dynamic guys around.

      • KingLettuce

        Not to mention it just gives them more time to get injured!

      • Mark McDowall

        The ONLY…and I repeat ONLY reason Melendez is coaching TUF and getting a title shot is because Bellator got all excited and plastered all over social media that they can’t wait to sign Gil and he will be one of their top guys. As soon as that happened Dana went…you guys want him…oh now were going to make him a big deal just to F up your plans. How else would he go from…who cares about Gil…let him go etc…to giving him a TUF coach spot and a title shot?!?!?!

        Because lets be real…he has in no way earned either of them.

    • uncle

      This better be a damn good card then

  • Truthcore

    biggest losers here are Ben Henderson, TJ Grant, and Jose Aldo (if he was serious about moving up),

    actually helps Khabib alot b/c of the timeline… during that time Bendo or TJ could fall and Khabib already has alot of momentum and would have time for another fight and then depending on the quality of win; could be right in time for a title shot. Not like he would’ve gotten a title shot within this time (unlike Bendo or Grant who deserve it now or soon enough)

    • peedubya

      I think it helps Bendo a lot. He wasn’t going to get a shot at Pettis any time soon, and Gil might see Bendo as unfinished business if he wins.

  • Wtf want aldo

    U would think Dana being a huge boxing fan he learn from their mistake in give fans what we want aldo vs petteis but really doesn’t matter he get hurt for the fight anyway the lil nog of the lil guys should be his ring name :-D

    • Mark McDowall

      The whole Melendez situation was a big F U to Bjorn and the Bellator boys. Had he, Bjorn, kept his mouth shut about being all excited about Melendez going over there and being one of their top LW’s….he would be one of their top LW’s right now and we would have a real #1 contender for Pettis.