Gilbert Melendez vs. Jorge Masvidal official for December 17th Strikeforce EventPosted on October 11, 2011, 09:49 PM by Joey Santosus
It appears Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez is not yet headed to the UFC to face Frankie Edgar after all.
Instead, according to the official Strikeforce Twitter account, he'll first defend his belt against Jorge Masvidal on December 17th.
"Sorry to keep you waiting folks! @GilbertMelendez WILL be defending his title vs @GamebredFighter in San Diego on Dec. 17. Tix on sale Sat!"
The match-up will mark Melendez's third consecutive title defense since dethroning Josh Thompson to recapture the strap back in 2009. In his latest effort, at Stikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley in April, "El Nino" (19-2) pummeled Japanese stand-out Tatsuya Kawajiri with vicious ground-and-pound to force a first-round referee stoppage. Though many suspected the victory had earned him a crack at UFC gold, he'll now face at least one more worthy challenger before jumping ship.
Masvidal (22-6) returned to the Strikeforce ranks in March after having previously gone two-for-two with the promotion back in 2007-08. After outworking undefeated prospect Billy Evangelista to pick up a decision, "Gamebred" was pitted in a number-one contender bout opposite boxing specialist KJ Noons. To the surprise of oddsmakers everywhere, the South Florida native stood toe-to-toe with Noons, taking the nod on the judges' scorecards and cementing his place as the division's top challenger.
Strikeforce: Melendez vs.Masvidal is set to take place December 17th from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. In addition to the Lightweight title clash, which will serve as the headlining bout, the stacked card is expected to feature the return of Women's 145-pound champ Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos taking on Japan's Hiroko "Cat's Eye" Yamanaka in the co-main event.
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Photo: Shinya Aoki of Japan, right, and Gilbert Melendez at a open media workout session to promote a Strikeforce MMA card at the Legends gym on March 17, 2010 in Hollywood, California. Francis Specker