Anthony Pettis Says He’ll Be Defending His UFC Belt Against Gilbert Melendez on Dec. 6

July 21, 2014

Anthony Pettis vs Gilbert MelendezAnthony Pettis’ first UFC lightweight title challenger has been known for quite some time. He’ll square up with fellow The Ultimate Fighter 20 coach Gilbert Melendez.

What hasn’t been known is the when or where the fight would take place.

Pettis on Monday revealed that second part of the equation, while he was a guest on The MMA Hour.

He is expecting the fight will take place on Dec. 6 in Las Vegas. sources indicated that is indeed the UFC’s current target for the fight, although it has yet to be publicly confirmed.

“That’s what they told me,” Pettis said. “I just found out it will be Dec. 6.”

UFC 181 is currently slated for Dec. 6 in Las Vegas, so it’s likely that Pettis vs. Melendez would headline the pay-per-view event.

Pettis has been sidelined while recuperating from surgery in early December to repair a torn posterior cruciate ligament.

Although Pettis had been targeting a summer return to the Octagon, 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 in December. It had originally been rumored for the promotion’s annual event closer to the New Year, but appears to have been moved to Dec. 6.

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.

The Ultimate Fighter 20 features the new UFC women’s strawweight (115-pound) division. The winner of the series will be crowned the promotion’s first champion in the weight class.

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