Gilbert Melendez vs Jorge Masvidal Set For December 17thStrikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez will indeed be defending his title against Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal on December 17th. Strikeforce officially confirmed the bout today, and it is expected to take place at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California.

Melendez had been rumoured to be facing Masvidal on the card for months, but his participation recently came into question after UFC President Dana White stated that Melendez would be brought over to the UFC very soon. Melendez will remain in Strikeforce to defend his title one more time.

Melendez (19-2-0) captured the Strikeforce 155-pound title in a rematch with rival Josh Thomson in late 2009 and has made two successful defences of the belt since then. In April 2010, Melendez earned a dominant Unanimous Decision victory over DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki. He returned to the cage just shy of one year later and stopped another rival, Japanese standout Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri, with elbows in the first round. The bout with Kawajiri was a rematch from New Year’s Eve 2006 when Melendez eked out a razor-thin decision. The Californian has won five straight fights and has finished 12 opponents to date. He has never been stopped in 21 career bouts.

Masvidal (22-6-0) endured a difficult campaign in 2010, which saw him earn just one win in three fights. He has found much greater success this year, however, and has posted back-to-back decision victories over the previously unbeaten Billy Evangelista and former EliteXC Lightweight Champion “King” K.J. Noons. Like Melendez, Masvidal is known for his striking technique and power and he has stopped 11 of his career opponents. Masvidal has demonstrated marked improvement in his two fights this year, but faces a tough test as he tries to take hold of the Strikeforce Lightweight Championship in what may be the final Strikeforce event. He has only been finished by strikes one time, in controversial fashion.

The title bout between Melendez and Masvidal headlines the December 17th card, which is expected to be held at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos will defend her title against once-beaten Jewels standout Hiroko Yamanaka in the co-main event.



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  1. Masvidal by easy decision.