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Steve Cofield

Hathaway gives Sanchez a rude welcome back at welterweight

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

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There's no clear answer why Diego Sanchez decided to leave lightweight and return to the bigger 170 class but now he knows he's not equipped any longer to fight with the big boys. John Hathway, an unheralded 22-year-old Brit, toyed with Sanchez during what was mostly a standup fight on his way to a unanimous decision victory, 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26, in the first fight of the night on the UFC 114 pay-per-view.

Sanchez won the middleweight title during Season 1 of "the Ultimate Fighter" and was -2 at 170 pounds between 2007-2009 dropped to lightweight and had lots of success until getting destroyed by former lightweight champ B.J. Penn. Instead of working on his weakness for another trip back up the ladder at 155, Sanchez scurried back to welterweight. It was clear from the get-go, the 5-foot-8 Sanchez is simply too small to compete with the new breed of welterweights. The 6-1 Hathaway used his reach advantage throughout the fight. He nearly ended things in the first when Sanchez tried to shoot in for a single-leg takedown with 2:30 left in the first and was greeted by a nasty right knee that made his eyes roll back. Hathaway jumped on top and maintained the position wailing away with punches, elbows and hammerfists until the round ended.

The next two rounds weren't much better for Sanchez who couldn't get Hathaway to the ground and looked frustrated and sluggish on the feet. Sanchez's right hand started to drop the remainder of the fight and he refused to circle to his right making it easy for Hathaway to land straight rights.

This is a real wake-up call for Sanchez, once considered a future star of the sport. He seems to be stuck between weight classes.

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