The famed New Year’s Eve “DYNAMITE” show in Japan has traditionally been one of the most star-studded events of the year, combining both K-1 and MMA fights into one super-show that usually sells out arenas with ease. But this December, Japanese fight fans won’t be able to look forward to seeing one of their biggest stars get a shot at both revenge and redemption. According to a new report, Gilbert Melendez vs. Shinya Aoki 2 has now been officially scrapped from the upcoming “DYNAMITE 2010” card. Here are all the details.
MMA Weekly recently confirmed it with Strikeforce officials: this bout will not be happening. Melendez famously beat Aoki at the April 2010 Strikeforce: “Nashville” event. In fact, Melendez outright dominated Aoki en route to capturing a Unanimous Decision win and retaining his Strikeforce Lightweight Championship. The international showdown between two of the best Lightweights in the world came about through Strikeforce’s partnership with the Japanese-based DREAM promotion.
Shinya Aoki has since fought three times (in his native Japan) since the crushing loss to Melendez, winning once by decision and twice by submission. DREAM itself has come under fire recently for not paying its fighters, and rumors of financial instability in its parent company abound. It was not confirmed that these rumors were the reason that the rematch in Japan was axed. In fact, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently commented that the DREAM/Strikeforce partnership was still intact, and that DREAM had paid all of the Strikeforce fighters that were “loaned” to the promotion.
I honestly can’t say that I’m sad that this match won’t be happening. In a previous article, I outright stated that I thought this match wouldn’t really prove anything. Then again, I also admitted that a rematch couldn’t hurt. In the end, I think it just hasn’t been long enough to justify a rematch.
I know I’ve been advocating for several immediate rematches recently, and I’m glad that this story popped up because I’m usually not in favor of immediate rematches. This fight in particular perfectly typifies my problem with immediate rematches. What has Aoki done to deserve an immediate rematch? He’s beaten three people, sure, but has he evolved in any way, shape, or form? If we get a rematch so soon after the first match, wouldn’t we just be getting the same Shinya Aoki versus the same Gilbert Melendez? Sure, it would be in Japan and Melendez would have to cope with some new rules, but does that make the fight interesting enough to justify having an immediate rematch?
I honestly don’t think it does. No matter the setting, Melendez’s dominant wrestling ability, striking skill, and submission defense are far too much for Aoki to handle as he is now. If Aoki had reinvented himself from the ground up following the loss to Melendez, maybe I’d have more sympathy towards those calling for an immediate rematch. But he’s still the same Aoki. He’s a great submission specialist, one of the absolute best, but he has some of the worst stand-up I’ve ever seen. It’s a tall order to fend off his submissions for three or even five straight rounds, but if Melendez did it before, he’d be able to do it again, especially if the fight took place in the same calendar year.
Let’s see a rematch a year from now, or even two years from now. There was no controversy, there were very few mitigating factors, Gilbert Melendez outright dominated Shinya Aoki and I highly doubt that would have changed if the fight took place in a ring instead of a cage. So I’m glad this fight won’t be seeing the light of day.
And what about you, fans and friends? What are your feelings on this match now officially being cancelled?