Speculation surrounding where 19-2 Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez would fight next has been put to rest.
According to his superiors at Zuffa, Melendez will face Jorge Masvidal on December 17 in San Diego as had been rumored before discussion recently heated up regarding a run in the UFC. Other match-ups on the card include Cristiane Santos defending her featherweight title against Japanese grappler Hiroki Yamanaka and Gegard Mousasi mixing it up with Ovince St. Preux.
“El Nino” is seen by many as the #2 155-pounder in the world and is currently on a five-fight winning streak including success against Josh Thomson, Shinya Aoki, and most recently Tatsuya Kawajiri. While he has ten fights under the Strikeforce banner, Melendez has already expressed his desire to test himself against the best in the UFC with Dana White backing the cause.
Comparably, Masvidal earned his crack at the Californian’s championship by taking out KJ Noons in June is as impressive a performance as has been seen from the 26-year old. “Gamebred” holds an overall record of 22-6 with past wins over Billy Evangelista, Yves Edwards, and Joe Lauzon.
Other fighters expected to compete alongside Melendez and Masvidal include Noons and Keith Jardine.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE