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International Fight week is in full swing and UFC 239 is just days/ hours away from us. With a card that has held up the test of time (unlike cards in the past), we are on the verge of having one of the best fight cards International Fight Week has had in a couple of years. With the main card that features champions, champ-champs, and former champions, it’s the prelims that feature Unknown MMA’s Fight to watch.

A post shared by Arnold Allen (@arnoldbfa) on May 8, 2019 at 12:17pm PDT

After nearly a two-year hiatus, the former Strikeforce champion, Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (22-7) IS BACK! Facing off against one of the UFC’s young up and coming prospects, the 25-year-old Englishman, Arnold “Almighty” Allen (14-1).

Many thought that Melendez’ last fight against a savage in Jeremy Stephens would be his last. A fight that nearly had fight fans witness Stephens nearly tear off Melendez’ leg, with kick that shredded up his leg and took everything in Melendez to make it to the end of the 3rd round (a lesser man would’ve probably caved in and been finished due to that leg kicks with in the first 2 rounds). El Ninos’ heart has never been questioned but his future in the UFC definitely was, after his decision loss to Jeremy Stephens, Melendez was a loser in 4 straight fights and his last win dated back to UFC 166 in October of 2013 against Diego Sanchez. During his time away Melendez tried to get away from the mats but once a fighter, always a fighter so he kept finding himself at the gym. Along the way, he regained a newfound motivation and training didn’t feel like a job but it began to feel fun again. Melendez may not be the champion he once was when he was fighting out of Strikeforce but he’s ready to prove himself, once again.

We are 4 weeks out from battle and I have been putting in work. I’m feeling healthy , in shape, ready for a 15min. battle , in the right mindset and ready to endure what’s necessary. I have been fighting professionally for nearly 20years , I’am proud of all my accomplishments and I know that I am nearing the end of my career … BUT I still believe I have what it takes to perform on the biggest stage , I still have the desire to compete and I know I can give all the fans another fight to remember. I plan on leaving it all out in the cage come July 6th. All your love and support will greatly be appreciated. I have Here some great shots from @mbdoodle who has been able to help me document my training camp so I can share with all of you. Expect more cool shots from him and videos from @b_______line . I have a great team behind me, there is no doubt in my mind we will be ready to go. #elniñotrainingcenter #skrappack #ajj #graciefighter #california #SantaAna #bayarea #fight #fighter #mma #letsgo #vamos #stormiscoming

A post shared by gilbertmelendez (@gilbertmelendez) on Jun 9, 2019 at 4:15pm PDT

With his nearly 2 year hiatus finally coming to an end this Saturday at UFC 239, Gilbert is looking to bounce back and use the revitalized fire he’s found within himself to get back to the fighter that gained him respect along with so many fans – and he has the perfect opponent in front of him, to do that.

Arnold Allen is on the right track to being in the top 15 of the featherweight division. He has a 14-1 (5-0 UFC) record and his lone loss came back in 2014, in another promotion. Since entering the UFC in 2014, Allen has fought once a year and is riding a 7 fight win streak into Saturday’s showdown against Melendez. Although, Allen doesn’t have a high profile win (unless you count his split decision victory against Amirkhani back in 2017) but if he gets his hand raised this Saturday in dominant fashion, then he’ll finally have that high profile name under him along with a case for entering the top 15 of the division. With a dominant finish of Gilbert Melendez, something only Anthony Pettis has been able to do since Melendez has fought under the UFC branch, it would be hard to deny him that but if nothing less he’ll set himself up for a fight with a ranked opponent.

A post shared by Arnold Allen (@arnoldbfa) on Feb 13, 2019 at 4:29am PST

With Gilbert Melendez vs. Arnold Allen headlining the preliminary portion of UFC 239, be sure to tune in on ESPN. Melendez may not have a bunch of fights left in him but if he’s as motivated as he claims to be and ready to prove his worth then we all might be reminded of what “El Nino” is capable of. As for Arnold Allen, the young up and comer will be fighting on U.S. turf for the first time and in the land of opportunities, Arnold Allen hopes to make the most of his. ■

Be sure to catch all the preliminary action live on ESPN this Saturday! Brandon Dimas will be at International Fight Week, make sure to follow Brandon Dimas on Twitter!

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