The biggest name left on the Strikeforce roster, Gilbert Melendez will defend his lightweight championship on May 19th but who will stand across from him is anyone’s guess. The event is supposed to take place HP Pavilion in San Jose, California and will also feature the Heavyweight Grand Prix Finale between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier.
This will be the four title defense for Melendez (20-2), who is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal back in December. Melendez is 7-1 over his last eight bouts and is currently riding a six fight winning streak. His lone loss came against Josh Thomson in 2008, but Melendez would later defeat Thomson a year later in the rematch.
The likely candidate to face Melendez would be the above mentioned Thomson who is coming off a unanimous decision win over K.J. Noons. The two could complete the trilogy that fans (and media) have long discussed and hounded them over. Another option would be Pat Healy who fought on the same card March 3rd card as Thomson and has been making noise with his current four fights winning streak.
A dark horse to step in and face Melendez would be a current UFC fighter possible moving over to Strikeforce for a shot at gold. It’s a long shot but is you ask Cesar Gracie (Melendez’s coach) he hopes it’s either BJ Penn or Anthony Pettis.
No matter whom it is Gilbert Melendez will be ready to make yet another statement that he is the best lightweight in the world and belongs in the UFC.