Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez, a Mexican- American Mixed Marshall Arts (MMA) fighter based in San Francisco, will fight Edward “Eddie” Alvarez on Saturday, June 13 in Mexico City, Mexico.
The fight will be a part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 188 event with the fight between Cain Velasquez and Fabricion Werdum as the main event.
At 5’9” and 154 lbs., Melendez fights in the lightweight division of the UCF. He is a two-time Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, and a former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) 10 Lightweight Champion who defeated Olaf Alfonso in 2004.
Melendez was born in 1982 in Santa Ana, California, where he used to watch the Julio Cesar Chavez boxing fights with his father. His protective and concerned mother influenced Melendez to go into wrestling.
She does not watch her son fight but instead stays home and prays for him.
While in Santa Ana High School, Melendez twice became a state qualifier: He won him a scholarship to wrestle at San Francisco State, where he briefly competed before fighting professionally.
Melendez has trained extensively with Jake Shields, Cesar Gracie, Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, and David Terrell.
Melendez is tough and ready to go the total distance in his fights. His defense is outstanding, and he is strong in taking down his opponent.
In preparing for his fight with Alvarez, Melendez told the media he wants to become stronger and will work both on his boxing and strength.
“Sometimes you become strong but slow. Sometimes you want to be fast and be lighter. It is a hard thing to do perfect,” says Melendez. “But I do want to focus on my strength and boxing a lot.”
Melendez had a good start as a MMA fighter, having competed in wrestling at San Francisco State University. And he knows that he must perfect his skills to fight against others in a sport whose fighters incorporate other fighting styles and wrestling, such as boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Jeet Kune Do, Judo, Karate, Muay Thai, Sanshou, and Tae Kwon Do.
Melendez, with a record of 22 wins, 4 loses, and 0 draws, is currently ranked as the number three fighter in official UFC lightweight rankings and by Sherdog, an authority on MMA.
Eddie Alvarez, with a record of 25 wins, 4 loses and 0 draws, is currently ranked as number eight.