Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez turns 32 this week. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
One of MMA’s most accomplished and consistent lightweights, Gilbert Melendez will celebrate his 32nd birthday on April 12.
Melendez last appeared at UFC 166 in October, when he took a unanimous decision from “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 winner Diego Sanchez at the Toyota Center in Houston. A former Strikeforce and World Extreme Cagefighting champion, he has won eight of his past nine bouts, a contentious split decision loss to Benson Henderson in his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut the lone hiccup. Victories against Tatsuya Kawajiri (twice), Josh Thomson (twice), Shinya Aoki and Clay Guida anchor the stellar Melendez resume. The Cesar Gracie protégé has never been finished in his 25-fight professional career, which dates back to 2002.
A Santa Ana, Calif., native, Melendez will coach opposite Anthony Pettis on Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter” before challenging him for the UFC lightweight crown later this year.
Those in MMA celebrating a birthday during the week covering April 6-April 12:
APRIL 6Marcus Brimage (29)
APRIL 7David Baggett (34)
Russ Miura (33)
APRIL 8Sakae Kasuya (32)
Michal Materla (30)
Shinji Maeguchi (29)
Luis Alberto Nogueira (29)
APRIL 9Gary Quan (43)
APRIL 12Roman Savochka (36)
Gilbert Melendez (32)
Rick Glenn (25)
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