You can officially put all that Gilbert Melendez (Pictured) jumping over to the UFC talk to bed … at least for the time being. On Tuesday afternoon, Strikeforce announced their lightweight champion will defend his throne against Jorge Masvidal on December 17th in San Diego, California.
The scrap had been anticipated for several weeks, but recent chatter of Melendez vacating his belt to join the big leagues kept most guessing if the title tilt would actually go down.
Melendez owns an impressive 19-2 professional record and was last seen posting a TKO victory over Tatsuya Kawajiri this past April. “El Niño” is widely regarded as the best 155-pounder not competing in the UFC.
Masvidal earned next dibs by hanging a unanimous decision win over K.J. Noons at “Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum” in June. “Gamebred” holds a 22-6 pro mark, but half of his W’s have come by way of the judges’ scorecards.
The Valley View Casino Center in San Diego will host the shindig. Tickets for the show go on sale this Saturday (Details to follow).
Showtime will broadcast the card’s main bouts.
Here are the athletes expected to appear in the event:
Keith Jardine vs. TBD
Gina Carano vs. TBD
Gegard Mousasi vs. Ovince St. Preux
Hiroko Yamanaka vs. Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight Champion)
Jorge Masvidal vs Gilbert Melendez (Strikeforce Lightweight Champion)