The original The Ultimate Fighter winner is still kicking.
Diego Sanchez walked into his co-main event fight against newcomer Marcin Held at UFC Fight Night 98 on Saturday night a man on a mission. Coming off a devastating stoppage loss from this past summer, “Nightmare” was a sizable underdog against the former Bellator MMA contender, but picked up a very impressive victory.
In the early going, Sanchez vs. Held was very back-and-forth; both fighters looked decent on the feet and mixed in a couple takedown attempts. But in the second and third rounds, the high elevation of Mexico City, Mexico got to Held, as he tired badly. Held appeared content to remain on his back and attempt submissions from that position for the last 10 minutes. Sanchez was essentially able to control Held for the final two rounds and was rewarded a unanimous decision win — one that he deserved.
What was the highlight of the fight?
Nothing that occurred in the actual fight stood out to me; it was an interesting fight but not a barn-burner by any means. So I’m going to go with just the fact that Sanchez is still finding success in 2016. As a 34-year-old who’s been in the sport for over a decade, that’s quite the feat. Plus, he defeated a highly-touted prospect in Held, who’s only 24 years old. I still don’t think Sanchez beats the cream of the crop at lightweight — far from it — but he’s still winning fights, and that counts for something.
Where do these two go from here?
Had Sanchez lost on Saturday, I would have been calling for his retirement. But he didn’t, and actually looked better than he has in recent memory. So I doubt he walks away now; I see him taking at least a couple more fights, but he’ll never crack into the top 15. He’ll stay where he is as far as rankings go.
Held is still young and probably has a bright future ahead of him. But this is a rather large setback for him, especially as a debuting fighter. He’ll need a win in his next outing or it could be back to Bellator MMA for him.
Watch now, later, or never?
I’d probably check this out later. I don’t think it’s not a must-watch, however.