August 18, 2006
Diego Sanchez (Pictures) cleared a major hurdle Thursday evening towards getting a UFC welterweight title shot, winning a unanimous decision over Karo Parisyan (Pictures) at the Red Rock Casino Resort Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The hard earned victory wasn’t easy for the Albuquerque, New Mexico native, who sampled a taste of the canvas several times in the contest after being on the wrong side of Parisyan’s amazing judo throws.
It wasn’t the Ultimate Fighter’s widely respected wrestling game that propelled him to the win — it was his underrated stamina that laid the foundation for his hand being raised in the most important main event of the scrappy welterweight’s career.
Entering the third stanza (with Sherdog.com scoring the fight a round apiece) Sanchez simply out-hustled Parisyan, digging deep with a workmanlike effort to solidify his name in the UFC’s 170-pound title picture.
Starting the final period with more gas in his tank than the man across from him, the fresh Sanchez went right to work with a straight right to the chin that briefly buckled Parisyan’s legs.
Never a fighter to show any weakness, Parisyan plugged forward and scored a double-leg takedown against the cage. In the defining moment of the bout, Sanchez quickly rose to his feet and executed a brilliant trip that put him in position to hop on his opponent’s back.
After dishing out some punishment to the back of Parisyan’s head and nearly securing a rear-naked choke, the TUF veteran found himself back on his feet after a skilled reversal courtesy of “The Heat.”
Sensing his stamina advantage, Sanchez pressed forward with crisp punches and four consecutive shots to the midsection before a knee ejected a tooth from the California fighter’s mouth into the atmosphere.
After being thrown to the floor by a judo technique for the fourth time in the bout, Sanchez hustled to gain top position and pound out a decision on the judges’ scorecards.
Nelson Hamilton and Marcos Rosales called it 29-28 and the often mentioned Glenn Trowbridge absurdly scored it 30-26.
“I believe I’m the best in the world. I still haven’t got to go out there and perform at my best, but I do think when the time is right, that’s when it’s right for me,” said Sanchez when asked if he was ready for a shot at the title.