The main card of UFC 215 began with a featherweight clash between Gilbert Melendez and Jeremy Stephens inside the Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.
Melendez dropped down below the 155-pound division for the first time since 2005. “El Nino” was in search of his first victory since Oct. 2013.
A leg kick got things started for Stephens. He continued to land leg kicks. Some bad swelling formed on the lead leg of Melendez. “El Nino” was hobbling on his leg and fell to the canvas. He got back up and Stephens opened up with a combination.
A right hand followed by a jab landed for Melendez. Another leg kick was there for “Lil’ Heathen.” The former Strikeforce lightweight champion went down again from that injured leg. The round ended with Stephens landed a punch on the ground.
A doctor allowed Melendez to enter the second round. A jab was there for “El Nino.” Melendez switched stance. He landed a knee following a combination. Stephens looked to kick the other leg. Time was called for an unintentional low blow, but it was brief.
Melendez fell to the canvas again off a leg kick. He got back up and moved gingerly. Stephens went high with a kick. A body kick was there for Stephens. An uppercut followed by a hook landed for Melendez. Another leg kick dropped Melendez as the round came to a close.
Stephens continued to keep up the pace in the final round. He landed a right hand that got through Melendez’s guard. Another leg kick got Melendez down. “Lil’ Heathen” show Melendez respect for his toughness. A knee was there for “El Nino.” A hard kick to the leg dropped Melendez. He got back up, but dropped again. Stephens was in top control as the final horn sounded.
The decision was obvious.
Final Result: Jeremy Stephens def. Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)