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"El Nino"

22-7-0

Gilbert Melendez

Gilbert "El Nino" Melendez

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  • Name: Gilbert Melendez
  • MMA Record: 22-7-0 (Win-Loss-Draw)
  • Nickname: El Nino
  • Current Streak: 4 Losses
  • Age: 35 | Date of Birth: 1982.04.12
  • Last Fight: September 09, 2017 in UFC
  • Weight Class: Featherweight | Last Weigh-In: 146.0 lbs
  • Affiliation: Cesar Gracie Jiu Jitsu
  • Height: 5'9" (176cm) | Reach: 73.0" (185cm)
  • Career Disclosed Earnings: $1,244,890 USD
  • Born: Santa Ana, California, United States
  • Fighter Pages: Sherdog  |  Wikipedia  |  The UG  |  Promoter
  • Fighting out of: San Francisco, California
  • Personal Pages: Twitter  |  Facebook
  • Head Coach: Cesar Gracie
  • Other Coaches: N/A

Tapology Worldwide Rankings For Gilbert Melendez Rankings FAQ

Gilbert Melendez Featherweight Ranking History

Tapology Regional Rankings Rankings FAQ

Fighting for a major organization has made Gilbert Melendez ineligible for regional rankings.

Gyms & Affiliations

Gilbert Melendez MMA Fight Record

Record by Year and By Promotion

Pro Results Opponent Event Date
Loss | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Us Jeremy Stephens
22-6-0 25-14-0

Ca UFC 215: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2
Main Card | Featherweight | 145 lbs

2017.09.09
Odds: -120 (Near Even) | Disclosed Pay: $50,000 Fight/Night | Weigh-In: 146.0 lbs (66.2 kgs) | Referee: Jerin Valel
UFC 215 Fight of the Night
Loss | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Br Edson Barboza
22-5-0 17-4-0

Us UFC on FOX 20: Holm vs. Shevchenko
Co-Main Event | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2016.07.23
Odds: +205 (Moderate Underdog) | Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs (70.3 kgs) | Referee: John McCarthy
Cancelled Bout Al Iaquinta UFC UFN 71 2015.07.15
Reason: Melendez suspended due to failed drug test
Loss | Decision | Split
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Us Eddie Alvarez
22-4-0 25-4-0

Mx UFC 188: Velasquez vs. Werdum
Co-Main Event | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2015.06.13
Odds: -155 (Slight Favorite) | Weigh-In: 156.0 lbs (70.8 kgs) | Referee: John McCarthy
Loss | Submission | Choke
1:53 Round 2 of 5, 6:53 Total

Us Anthony Pettis
22-3-0 17-2-0

Us UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler 2
Co-Main Event | Title Challenge | Lightweight | 155

2014.12.06
Odds: +275 (Moderate Underdog) | Disclosed Pay: $200,000 Base | Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs (70.3 kgs) | Referee: John McCarthy
#12 Best MMA Submission of the Year 2014
UFC 181 Performance of the Night
Cancelled Bout Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC 170 2014.02.22
Win | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Us Diego Sanchez
21-3-0 24-5-0

Us UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3
Main Card | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2013.10.19
Odds: -550 (Heavy Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $60,000 Fight/Night | Weigh-In: 156.0 lbs (70.8 kgs) | Referee: Kerry Hatley
#4 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2013
#14 Greatest Fight of All Time
#7 Greatest Lightweight MMA Fight of All Time
UFC 166 Fight of the Night
Loss | Decision | Split
5 Rounds, 25:00 Total

Us Benson Henderson
21-2-0 18-2-0

Us UFC on FOX 7: Henderson vs. Melendez
Main Event | Title Challenge | Lightweight | 155

2013.04.20
Odds: +270 (Moderate Underdog) | Disclosed Pay: $175,000 Base | Weigh-In: 154.0 lbs (69.9 kgs) | Referee: John McCarthy
#21 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2013
Cancelled Bout Pat Healy Strikeforce 2013.01.12
Reason: Melendez Injury
Cancelled Bout Pat Healy Strikeforce 2012.09.29
Reason: Melendez Injury
Win | Decision | Split
5 Rounds, 25:00 Total

Us Josh Thomson
20-2-0 19-4-0

Us Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier
Co-Main Event | Title Defense | Lightweight | 155

2012.05.19
Odds: -600 (Huge Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $175,000 Base | Weigh-In: 153.0 lbs (69.4 kgs) | Referee: Dan Stell
#21 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2012
Win | Decision | Unanimous
5 Rounds, 25:00 Total

Us Jorge Masvidal
19-2-0 22-6-0

Us Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal
Main Event | Title Defense | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2011.12.17
Odds: -330 (Moderate Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $150,000 Base | Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs (70.3 kgs) | Referee: Herb Dean
Win | KO/TKO | Elbows
3:14 Round 1 of 5

Jp Tatsuya Kawajiri
18-2-0 27-6-2

Us Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley
Co-Main Event | Title Defense | Lightweight | 155

2011.04.09
Odds: -310 (Moderate Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $150,000 Base | Weigh-In: 154.8 lbs (70.2 kgs) | Referee: Cecil Peoples
#41 Best MMA Knockout of the Year 2011
Win | Decision | Unanimous
5 Rounds, 25:00 Total

Jp Shinya Aoki
17-2-0 23-4-0

Us Strikeforce: Nashville
Main Card | Title Defense | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2010.04.17
Odds: -160 (Slight Favorite) | Weigh-In: 154.5 lbs (70.1 kgs) | Referee: Mario Yamasaki
Win | Decision | Unanimous
5 Rounds, 25:00 Total

Us Josh Thomson
16-2-0 16-2-0

Us Strikeforce: Evolution
Main Card | Title Match | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2009.12.19
Odds: -110 (Near Even) | Disclosed Pay: $55,000 Base | Weigh-In: 154.0 lbs (69.9 kgs) | Referee: Josh Rosenthal
#21 Greatest Lightweight MMA Fight of All Time
#16 Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2009
Win | KO/TKO | Punches
3:56 Round 3 of 5, 13:56 Total

Jp Mitsuhiro Ishida
15-2-0 18-5-1

Us Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg
Main Card | Interim Title | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2009.08.15
Odds: -205 (Moderate Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $50,000 Base | Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs (70.3 kgs) | Referee: Herb Dean
Win | KO/TKO | Punches
2:02 Round 2 of 3, 7:02 Total

Br Rodrigo Damm
14-2-0 8-2-0

Us Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz
Main Card | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2009.04.11
Odds: -430 (Heavy Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $49,890 Base | Weigh-In: 154.0 lbs (69.9 kgs) | Referee: Josh Rosenthal
Loss | Decision | Unanimous
5 Rounds, 25:00 Total

Us Josh Thomson
14-1-0 14-2-0

Us Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson
Main Card | Title Defense | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2008.06.27
Odds: -413 (Heavy Favorite) Upset Defeat | Disclosed Pay: $50,000 Base | Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs (70.3 kgs) | Referee: Herb Dean
Win | KO/TKO | Punches
2:18 Round 2 of 5, 7:18 Total

Us Gabe Lemley
13-1-0 11-6-0

Us Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Le
Main Card | Title Defense | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2008.03.29
Odds: -656 (Huge Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $50,000 Base | Weigh-In: 154.5 lbs (70.1 kgs) | Referee: Herb Dean
Loss | Decision | Unanimous
2 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Jp Mitsuhiro Ishida
13-0-0 14-3-1

Jp Yarennoka!: New Years Eve 2007
Main Card | Lightweight | 70 kg

2007.12.31
Odds: -303 (Moderate Favorite) Upset Defeat | Weigh-In: 156.0 lbs (70.8 kgs) | Referee: Yuji Shimada
Win | Decision | Unanimous
3 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Jp Tetsuji Kato
12-0-0 19-7-0

Us Strikeforce: Playboy Mansion
Main Event | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2007.09.29
Odds: -700 (Huge Favorite) | Disclosed Pay: $30,000 Base | Weigh-In: 155.5 lbs (70.5 kgs)
Win | Decision | Unanimous
2 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Jp Tatsuya Kawajiri
11-0-0 19-3-2

Jp Pride Shockwave 2006
Main Card | Lightweight | 73 kg

2006.12.31
Odds: +105 (Near Even) | Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs (70.3 kgs) | Referee: Samio Kimura
Cancelled Bout Shinya Aoki Bushido 13 2006.11.05
Reason: Melendez Injury
Win | Decision | Unanimous
2 Rounds, 15:00 Total

Jp Nobuhiro Obiya
10-0-0 9-0-1

Jp Pride Bushido 12: Bushido Survival 2nd Round
Main Card | Lightweight | 73 kg

2006.08.26
Weigh-In: 155.0 lbs (70.3 kgs) | Referee: Moritaka Oshiro
Win | Decision | Split
5 Rounds, 25:00 Total

Us Clay Guida
9-0-0 19-4-0

Us Strikeforce: Revenge
Main Card | Title Challenge | Lightweight | 155

2006.06.09
Weigh-In: 154.0 lbs (69.9 kgs)
Win | KO/TKO | Punches
0:44 Round 2 of 3, 5:44 Total

Us Harris Sarmiento
8-0-0 20-12-0

Us Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Gracie
Preliminary Card | Lightweight | 155 lbs

2006.03.10
Win | KO/TKO | Injury

Jp Rumina Sato

Jp Shooto

2005.08.20
Win | KO/TKO | Injury

Jp Naoya Uematsu

Jp Shooto

2005.05.04
Win | Decision | Unanimous

Jp Hiroyuki Takaya

Jp Shooto

2004.12.14
Win | KO/TKO | Punches

Us Kaynan Kaku

Us Rumble on the Rock

2004.11.20
Win | KO/TKO | Punches

Mx Olaf Alfonso

Us WEC

2004.05.21
Win | KO/TKO | Punches

Us Stephen Palling

Us Rumble on the Rock

2003.10.10
Win | KO/TKO | Punches

Us Jeff Hougland

Us WEC

2003.03.27
Win | KO/TKO | Punches

Us Gary Quan

Us WEC

2002.10.18
Amateur Results Opponent Event Date
Win

Us Shawn Pretat

Us International Fighting Championship

2002.08.10
Win

Us Martin Moreno

Us International Fighting Championship

2002.08.10

Gilbert Melendez Wiki Update Wiki

Gilbert Melendez is a lightweight fighter who trains out of Ceasar Gracie Jui Jitsu in Can Francisco, California. He is a veteran of WEC, Rumble on the Rock, Shooto, Strikeforce, Pride and the UFC. He was the first WEC lightweight champion and the last Strikeforce lightweight champion. While with Strikeforce, he set a number of records for the promotion including most championship bouts with 10, most title defenses with 6, most wins with 11 and most significant strikes landed with 749. El Nino has only been finished once by Anthony Pettis via guillotine choke but has finished 12 of his 21 wins, including 11 T/KOs.


Shortly after going professional in 2002, Gilbert Melendez established himself as one of the fastest-rising MMA prospects in the world at 155 lbs., becoming the first WEC Lightweight Champion in his fourth professional fight against Olaf Alfonso in 2004. Melendez would continue to put on dominant performances over the next three years, running his professional record to 13-0, with notable wins over Clay Guida and Tatsuya Kawajiri, before losing the first fight of his career to Mitsuhiro Ishida in Saitama, Japan in 2007.


After another loss, this time to Josh Thomson, cost him his Strikeforce Lightweight Championship in 2008, Melendez was forced to regroup. He returned with an obvious chip on his shoulder and went on a tear in the promotion, kicking his already high level of intensity up another notch and winning three straight fights in convincing fashion. Melendez blasted out Rodrigo Damm, avenged his losses to Ishida and Thomson, and regained the Strikeforce title in 2009. Next up, an eagerly awaited title defense between Melendez and Shinya Aoki on CBS turned into a coronation for "El Nino," with the Japanese grappler unable even to get to square one with his ground game over five long rounds.


Melendez is known for his finishing ability, wrestling control, and ceaseless fury when he steps into the cage. He is one of the best in the world at 155 lbs. He would then sign with the UFC since Strikeforce went under and received an immediate title shot against the current Lightweight Champ Ben Henderson. In a close fight Melendez would lose by a Split Decision to Henderson. This fight snapped a seven fight and nearly five year win streak. He was looking to rebound when he fought Diego Sanchez at UFC 166. In an epic brawl that will go down as one of the best fights in MMA history, Gil was able use his more accurate striking to win a unanimous decision. Dana White stated after the fight that this win put Melendez back into the mix for the title. And he was true to his word as Melendez is now going to coach the 20th season of the Ultimate Fighter and get another crack at the title this time against Anthony Pettis.


On December 6th, 2014 at UFC 181 Gilbert Melendez was defeated by Anthony Pettis via guillotine choke in the second round. 

Last updated 07.23.2016, 4:54 AM ET
Wiki Contributors:

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Videos & Highlights

    Highlight  |  Gilbert Melendez HL Video by Damien report dead link

    MMA highlight maker Damien looks at Gilbert Melendez, aka "El Nino," in this highlight video.

  • Interview  |  Gilbert Melendez video interview with Fight! Magazine report dead link

    Gilbert Melendez talks to Fight! Magazine about calling out Eddie Alvarez.

  • Documentary  |  Fight! Life with Gilbert Melendez: Baby Girl report dead link

    Watch this short documentary with Gilbert Melendez from Fight! Magazine.

  • Documentary  |  Fight! Life with Gilbert Melendez: Full Circle report dead link

    Watch this short documentary with Gilbert Melendez from Fight! Magazine.

  • Documentary  |  Fight! Life with Gilbert Melendez: From Training Partner to Champion report dead link

    Watch this short documentary with Gilbert Melendez from Fight! Magazine.

  • Promo Video  |  Warrior Code: Gilbert Melendez report dead link

    See what makes Gilbert Melendez tick in this UFC special feature.

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