Kevin Sornatale sent along the following:
GRAY MAYNARD vs. BRANDON MELENDEZ IN QUARTERFINAL BOUT ON THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER 5 THURSDAY, MAY 31 AT 10:00pm ET/PT
Randy Couture protg Gray Maynard of Team Penn takes on Team Pulver’s Brandon Melendez in the quarterfinals on the upcoming episode of The Ultimate Fighter 5 on Thursday, May 31 at 10:00pm ET/PT. Maynard, who advanced to the quarters with a win over Wayne Weems earlier in the season, will look to use his superior grappling skills to secure victory. Melendez, who defeated close friend Andy Wang earlier this season, must worry making weight and avoid an embarrassing departure like fellow contestant Gabe Ruediger, before getting in the Octagon against Maynard.
Gray “The Bully” Maynard
MMA Record: 3 — 0
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Trains in: Las Vegas, NV — Team Couture
Gray has an extensive background in wrestling, as he was a varsity letterman all four years of high school at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio. As a senior in high school, Gray was national champion, earning All-State and All-American honors while leading his team to an undefeated season and a number one ranking in the nation.
He went on to wrestle alongside The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Rashad Evans at Michigan State University, where he was a three-time All-American. After graduating, Gray received a call from Season 5 coach BJ Penn who was preparing for a fight at the time. Penn wanted someone with Gray’s abilities to train with him to improve his wrestling game, and offered to fly him to Hilo, Hawaii in order to do so. Gray obliged, and received his first taste of mixed martial arts. After his stint with Penn, Gray moved back to Las Vegas and worked as a real estate agent for two years before joining Team Couture, with whom he now trains full time.
Gray was dubbed “The Bully” because his bull terrier, Hank, harasses any other dog that comes in its path. His fianc plans on taking a trip to Thailand while he is in the The Ultimate Fighter 5 house for six weeks, which Gray thinks will make it easier for him to focus on the task at hand. He is hoping to improve his jiu-jitsu while training with the coaches and other fighters on the show.
Brandon “The Murderer” Melendez
MMA Record: 11 — 5
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Trains in: Salt Lake City, UT — Elite Performance with Jeremy Horn
At the age of eighteen, Brandon Melendez started grappling at the behest of a member of a gym he was working out at. Soon thereafter, he entered an eight man grappling tournament and made it to the finals with no formal jiu jitsu training at all. From then on, Brandon dedicated himself to mixed martial arts, joining the Elite Performance team in Salt Lake City. In Utah, a local station televises his fights, and one of the announcers dubbed him “The Murderer”. While unsettling to his grandmother, the nickname has stuck, and Brandon is looking to slay the competition on The Ultimate Fighter 5.
When not training, Brandon spends time with his wife Monika, and their children, daughter Alycia and son Malakhai. He enjoys rebuilding muscle cars, and is setting aside the 1971 GMC he is working on to train in Las Vegas with the coaches and other competitors.