UFC 239: Gilbert Melendez returns against Arnold Allen

Can 'El Nino' produce a vintage performance?

Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (22-7-0) wants to erase the haunting image of his last bout when he returns from an almost two year layoff against featherweight Arnold Allen (14-1-0) at UFC 239 in July.

“El Nino,” 37, last fought UFC 215 in September 2017 against Jeremy Stephens where Stephens battered him with leg kicks that left him hobbling through most of the second half of the fight. After suffering a leg injury in that fight, he has lost four straight fights and has not won since memorably defeating Diego Sanchez in 2013 at UFC 166.

Allen, 25, is undefeated in five fights in the octagon, but Melendez, at least on paper, will be his toughest opponent.

UFC 239 is scheduled for July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Current bouts include:

Jon Jones (24-1-0, 1NC) vs. Thiago Santos (21-6-0)

Amanda Nunes (17-4-0) vs. Holly Holm (12-4-0)

Francis Ngannou (13-3-0) vs. Junior Dos Santos (21-5-0)

Gilbert Melendez (22-7-0) vs. Arnold Allen (14-1-0)

Ben Askren (19-0-0) vs. Jorge Masvidal (33-13-0)

Luke Rockhold (16-4-0) vs. Jan Blachowicz (23-8-0)

Jack Marshman (23-8-0) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (9-0-0)

Sean O’Malley (10-0-0) vs. Marlon Vera (13-5-1)

Michael Chiesa (15-4-0) vs. Diego Sanchez (29-11-0)

Claudia Gadelha (16-4-0) vs. Randa Markos (9-6-1)

More bouts are expected to be announced.

@kenaiandrews

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Kenai is a former Postmedia Network news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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