Gilbert Melendez will meet a long-discussed opponent in June. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
A lightweight bout pitting former Strikeforce titlist Gilbert Melendez against ex-Bellator champ Eddie Alvarez will serve as the co-main event to UFC 188 “Velasquez vs. Werdum.”
UFC officials Tuesday announced the matchup, which will air live on pay-per-view from Mexico City Arena on June 13. UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez and interim beltholder Fabricio Werdum are set to headline the bill in a title unification bout.
Also added to UFC 188 on Tuesday was a welterweight bout between Ireland’s Cathal Pendred and Mexico’s Augusto Montano, as well as a women’s strawweight tilt featuring “The Ultimate Fighter” castmates Tecia Torres and Angela Hill.
Melendez holds a 1-2 record inside the Octagon, with both losses coming in title bouts. After dropping a narrow split decision to Benson Henderson in April 2013, “El Nino” rebounded by outpointing Diego Sanchez. In December, the Skrap Pack leader submitted to a second-round guillotine choke from reigning champ Anthony Pettis at UFC 181. Prior to joining the UFC, Melendez reeled off seven consecutive wins in the Strikeforce cage.
Alvarez will enter the bout in search of his first UFC victory, having dropped a unanimous decision to Donald Cerrone in his debut at UFC 178. Between 2009 and 2013, the Philadelphia native compiled a record of 10-1 while competing for Bellator. Alvarez’s only loss in that span came at the hands of Michael Chandler, whom he later defeated in a rematch.