As of today, Team Cesar Gracie is 0-4 when it comes to having one of his core fighters win one of the richest prizes in MMA, the UFC Lightweight Title. Nick, Nate, and Jake Shields have all competed for the top prizes in their respective weight divisions and have all fallen short as of late. Competing against George St. Pierre, Carlos Condit, and Benson Henderson with the dream of becoming the number one guy in their respected divisions, Cesar Gracie has one more chance to have one of his fighters achieve greatness. That comes in the form of Top 3 Lightweight fighter: Gilbert Melendez.Gilbert will try to break the disappointing trend that Team Cesar Gracie has been known for lately by competing in his first official UFC bout against Bendo in the main event of UFC on Fox 7. Melendez was a main stay in Strikeforce and he brings plenty of big fight experience to the table. His bouts with Josh Thomson always brought out the best of each fighter.
This will be the biggest bout for both athletes as they’ve been considered the top 2 fighters in their weight classes for the past few years. Benson has proven that he can hold his own by defeating Melendez’s team mate in Nate Diaz in his last fight and he holds two wins (though some what controversial) against Frankie Edgar.
When it comes to MMA, Melendez is a jack of all trades. What he lacks in refinement he makes up for with a vast arsenal of combat techniques. Will that be enough to end Bendo’s 6 fight winning streak? Only time will tell. One thing for sure, if there is anyone that has the tools to the end the reign of Smooth’s Lightweight Championship, it’s Melendez.
If not now will there be another opportunity for Cesar to have a UFC Champion in his stable or will he always have a group of contenders that get close but can’t quite reach the top of the mountain?
In a few weeks, many of these questions should be answered.
Let us know what you think and we wish both Benson and Gilbert the best of luck on April 20th at UFC on Fox 7!