I understand Sanchez is a tough fighter who gets in "good fights". Leonard Garcia also has like 4 FOTNs.
But his striking is GOD AWFUL. Sometimes I wonder if people have eyes or if people just like guys who wing shots wildly.
Sanchez looked to have F level striking vs. Gomi. Nate Diaz picked Gomi apart like he was a child. Then Gomi looked like Anderson vs. Sanchez. Diego over commits because he fights mad. He has no sense of timing nor distance. He gets countered so easily. Please, anyone with eyes and no bias, watch the Gomi fight and tell me Diego looked anything more than a D level striker with very average wrestling. Sanchez could be one of the worst strikers in the division.
Sanchez is a tough guy and has some pace. But Melendez is going to eat him alive. He is 5x the striker Sanchez is with better wrestling and better BJJ. And maybe better cardio at this point in their careers. Melendez may not stop him but he should win 30-27 unless judges keep scoring swings and misses, which is all Sanchez does.
I agree with you for the most part, I actually think Diego's win over Joe Riggs is the worst thing that happened to his career. He started to think he can strike and neglected to improve his average wrestling. Now he can't take or hold guys down.
I agree that his cardio wasn't an issue in the Gomi fight, but I still think something was wrong. Even if his striking wasn't very good in the first place, he doesn't fight that tentatively. Actually, if you fast forward to the one time where he actually goes into berserk mode in that fight, Gomi backs up against the fence and covers up, but then Diego followed this up by backing off again and fighting tentatively some more. I can't imagine him being afraid of Gomi's power because the one thing that Sanchez has going for him is that he is a tank and can take punches from even the hardest hitting welterweights, let alone lightweights. Overall, Gomi probably has better striking than Sanchez, but I had no doubts in my mind that Diego could weather the storm and manage to keep Gomi backed up against the cage with that pace of his (and he did the one time Sanchez looked like himself) up until Gomi gasses and probably gets finished or at the very least lose a decision. That's not what happened though, and Sanchez looked gun shy the entire time. Weird fight.
But yeah, overall I agree with you and it saddens me. The few things Sanchez has though are his pace, conditioning, and durability. The guy is so incredibly tough and that toughness has carried him for a while. That's why I can't help but be a fan, no matter how much he continues to decline.
Gilbert Melendez is a bad match up for him either way. If he loses, I'm not going to hold it against him as long as he doesn't look completely terrible. If he wins however, I'm going to be pretty happy.