This Saturday night on September 26 at the Flash Forum at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island comes UFC 253 where former Ultimate Fighter Season 1 winner of the middleweight division in Diego Sanchez (30-12 MMA, 19-12 UFC) is looking to reach a milestone 20th Octagon victory. Standing in his way is Jake Matthews (16-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) in this welterweight matchup. With Sanchez ranked sixth all-time in fights had with 31 and seventh all-time in wins with 19, he’s looking for an insurance policy to help him get over the hump and move up on the career wins list.
Another UFC Ultimate Fighter Season 1 contestant and UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar has agreed to stand as Sanchez’s cornerman for his upcoming fight against Matthews. “The American Psycho” and “Nightmare” didn’t have much time to train together, but have stayed in touch while fighting in their respective weight classes for the company. They have been able to build their friendship since TUF 1 ended shooting the inaugural season that put mixed martial arts on the map.
Sanchez split training duties between the UFC Performance Center in Las Vegas and Bonnar’s facility at Silver Wolf training to prepare for his upcoming bout this weekend. As for the Victoria, Australia native, Matthews is looking to extend his win streak to three after scoring two unanimous decisions over Rostem Akman last October at UFC 243 and Emil Weber Meek at UFC on ESPN+ 26 back in February. It would be a treat for the Nexus product to get a finish against the veteran multi-weight fight contender. Ranked the #93 MMA fighter of all time, according to Tapology.com, he looks to increase his value by unleashing his inner Hannibal Lecter, being that he shares the same birthday as Oscar-winning actor, Anthony Hopkins December 31.
UFC 253 will air on Pay-Per-View at 5 PM ET with the UFC preliminary card on ESPN 2 airing at 2 PM ET.