“El Nino” to coach on “The Ultimate Fighter 20” against Anthony Pettis, setting up a 155-pound showdown later this year!
In a blockbuster announcement, Zuffa kept free agent Gilbert Melendez away from Bellator and under the UFC umbrella, revealing Melendez has agreed to a new contract and will now coach on “The Ultimate Fighter 20” opposite current UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis. The two will then meet later this year for the UFC’s 155-pound championship.
Earlier this month, Bellator MMA officials announced Melendez, whose contract talks with UFC had broken down, had agreed to a multi-fight deal. However, Zuffa (UFC’s parent company) retained matching rights on the contract and has now apparently exercised that option.
Pettis shocked everyone with a 1st round submission victory over Benson Henderson (who holds a controversial decision over Melendez, a decision many experts dispute to this day). Despite Pettis’ stunning upset at the UFC 164 event, knee injuries have kept him sidelined, as he was forced to withdraw from a planned December defense against, of all people, Melendez’s arch rival from Strikeforce, Josh Thomson.
“The Ultimate Fighter 20″ reportedly begins filming in May, featuring will the launch of UFC’s Women’s Strawweight division. The winner of the season, which is scheduled to debut on Fox Sports 1 on September 10th, will become the first UFC Women’s 115-pound champion. It should be a fantastic year of fights on the show, as UFC has reportedly already signed Carla Esparza, Alex Chambers, Claudia Gadelha, Felice Herrig, Bec Hyatt, Emily Kagan, Juliana Lima, Rose Namajunas, Tecia Torres, Paige VanZant and Joanne Calderwood.
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