Gilbert Melendez Replaces Bobby Green, Meets Al Iaquinta At UFC Fight Night 71

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After a close split decision loss to Eddie Alvarez (video highlights here) in the co-main event of last weekend’s (Sat., June 13, 2015) UFC 188, two-time UFC lightweight title challenger Gilbert Melendez was understandably looking to get back into the cage and avenge the controversial loss.

Thankfully, the promotion had just the place for him to do it, as news broke tonight (Wed., June 17, 2015) that Melendez will replace the recently injured Bobby Green against rising prospect Al Iaquinta in the co-main event of July 15’s UFC Fight Night 71 from San Diego, California.

Touted as perhaps the best lightweight outside of the UFC when he first came to the promotion in early 2013, ‘El Nino’ has seen the worst slide of his career in going 1-3 in his last four, albeit with two close split decision losses.

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He’ll face a dangerous striker who also knows a thing or two about close wins, as Iaquinta recently picked up his fourth straight victory in a razor-thin split decision win over Jorge Masvidal in the co-headliner of April’s UFC Fight Night 63, after which he now infamously called out the Fairfax, Virginia, crowd with an expletive-laced tirade when they booed the decision.

He’ll now have by far his biggest challenge in the form of former Strikeforce champion Melendez, who should be angry and more than motivated to prove that his lucrative contract with the UFC wasn’t a mistake.

Taking place from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, UFC Fight Night 71 will feature a heavyweight headliner between former champion Frank Mir and longtime prospect Todd Duffee.

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But it could be argued that this potentially heated lightweight scrap just became the main event. Who is your pick to come out on top?