Friday, August 18, 2006
Diego Sanchez has never shied away from voicing his intentions of one day vaulting to the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's welterweight division. His performance at the Ultimate Fight Night 6 card last night went a long way in bolstering those ambitious title hopes.
The 24-year-old's relentless third-round onslaught helped him secure a unanimous decision over Karo Parisyan at the Red Rock Casino and Resort in Las Vegas.
Before the fight, Sanchez called Parisyan the perfect opponent for his willingness to stand in and trade shots with him, and trade they did.
After Sanchez opened a gash under his opponent's left eye at the start of the first round, Parisyan regained his bearings in the second, slamming Sanchez to the mat and working from the top position for much of the round.
But it was the third round that sealed it for Sanchez, who pulled himself off the cage early, executed a reversal and pounded away on the ground with a barrage of punches. Parisyan would escape and stand up, only to absorb a devastating knee from Sanchez in the waning minutes.
"It came down to the third round," Sanchez said. "The first round was a warmup; the second, he threw me a couple of times and in the third round I just let it go."
Sanchez (18-0) has amassed an impressive résumé in his five matches since debuting in the UFC last year, with Parisyan (15-4) standing as his most accomplished opponent to date. The victory figures to eventually earn him a title shot against the either champion Matt Hughes or Georges St. Pierre after their bout at UFC 63 on Sept. 23.
-- Andrew Levine