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Diego Sanchez closes in on UFC title shot with lopsided win over Ross Pearson

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According to a June 9 report from MMA Junkie, Albuquerque native Diego Sanchez (27-7) put the entire UFC lightweight division on notice with an impressive victory over hard-hitting British slugger Ross Pearson. Sanchez, 32, put such a beating on Pearson (15-7) that one official judge scoring UFC Fight Night 42, saw it 30-27 in his favor. The other two judges were split, with one seeing it 27-30 for Pearson and the other scoring it 29-28 in Sanchez's favor.

Pearson and his camp lodged an appeal with the New Mexico Athletic Commission because they feel he was robbed of a victory at UFC Fight Night 42. Sure its true that Pearson landed more overall strikes, 51-33, and at the higher percentage, 41 percent to 24 percent. Pearson also had the fight's only takedown and knockdown. However, Sanchez's effective aggressiveness may have been the difference-maker.

While Pearson moved side to side or back-peddled, Sanchez pressed forward while landing legal strikes. As for the takedown Pearson landed, he didn't do much with it. Far more important was Sanchez's willingness to engage, and dictate the pace of the bout. Of course effective striking and grappling are key components of the 10-Point Must Scoring System in MMA, but control of the fighting area and effective aggressiveness are just as important.

Sanchez was never hurt during his UFC Fight Night 42 bout against Pearson. In fact, Sanchez appeared to have Pearson momentarily wobbled in the third frame. Had the bout gone to a fourth or fifth round, who knows what could have happened? In all likelihood, Sanchez would have earned a knockout finish had the fight gone a bit longer. "The Nightmare" is used to training at elevation, so he had the advantage as far as cardio goes.

The longer the fight, the better off he would have been. Unfortunately, Sanchez only had three rounds to work with. Pearson would like to rematch Sanchez in England, but the UFC may have other plans in store for both men. Sanchez's impressive performance may have propelled him into the top 15 in the UFC's lightweight division.

His win over Pearson may have set him up for a fight against a top 10 contender. After that, Sanchez could arguably be in the mix for a title shot. The 32-year-old Sanchez has been a perennial contender since his UFC debut in 2005. It would be a shame if he never gets a crack at the UFC's lightweight strap.

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