Gilbert Melendez Blows Through Tatsuya Kawajiri, Stakes Claim as World’s Top Lightweight

Written by Tim Ngo
April 9th, 2011

Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez

Statement made. Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez was out to show the world that he should be gettin’ some love at the top of MMA’s lightweight ladder against Tatsuya Kawajiri and needed only 194 seconds to get his point across.

It was clear from the outset that Melendez was a completely different fighter from the one that Kawajiri loss to at Pride Shockwave 2006.

“El Nino” dropped his opponent with a huge right hand in the opening moments that “Crusher” never seemed to be able to recover from. The Gracie jiu-jitsu trained fighter showed just how far his striking had come in the four years since their first encounter.

The champ’s performance at “Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley” was one of the most lopsided title bouts in recent memory, which helped solidify Melendez as one of the top 155-pounders in the world.

With Zuffa’s recent purchase of Strikeforce, the leader of the Skrap Pack knows that this is his time to shine. He’s ready to make the jump and prove that he deserves top billing at lightweight.

“I’ll tell you what I think it’s time we unify some titles,” an emotional Melendez said following the win. “Who wants to see me fight for that UFC title, lets unify it in my hexagon. I’m the number one lightweight in the world. I’m coming for the spot.”

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