Strikeforce MMA: Gilbert Melendez Beats Mitsuhiro Ishida


Gilbert Melendez defeated Mitsuhiro Ishida by third-round TKO Saturday night on the Strikeforce: Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg undercard, winning the first two rounds of the fight before getting Ishida's back and raining punches down on him in the third.

The first round was fairly close, but Melendez showed superior striking and landed more punches. In the second round a Melendez punch landed up a cut on the right side of Ishida's head, and blood streamed down for the rest of the round. By the end of the second, Ishida looked like he was in trouble.

And then in the third, Melendez finished it off, getting Ishida on the ground, taking his back, attempting a rear-naked choke and then simply pummeling him in the head until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.

The fight was a rematch of a New Year's Eve 2007 fight in Japan. Ishida won that fight by unanimous decision, but on Saturday night in San Jose, it was clear that Melendez was the better fighter.

Melendez has improved his record to 16-2, and defended his Strikeforce interim lightweight title. He has now gotten revenge against one of the men who has beaten him, and he'll next fight the other, Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson, who beat Melendez last year but hasn't fought since September because of multiple injuries. Melendez will fight Thomson again as soon as Thomson is healthy, but for now, Melendez is the best lightweight fighting for Strikeforce.

For more on Strikeforce, check our results, live chat and MMA Twitter updates.

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Carano vs. Cyborg
Cris Cyborg punches Gina Carano in the face at the Strikeforce event on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.
Esther Lin, Strikeforce
Esther Lin, Strikeforce

Carano vs. Cyborg

    Cris Cyborg punches Gina Carano in the face at the Strikeforce event on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.

    Esther Lin, Strikeforce

    Gina Carano's leg gets caught by Cris Cyborg at the Strikeforce event on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.

    Esther Lin, Strikeforce

    SAN JOSE, CA - AUGUST 15: Cris Cyborg (L) battles Gina Carano during their Middleweight Championship fight at Stikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg on August 15, 2009 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

    Jon Kopaloff, Getty Images

    Gina Carano punches Cris Cyborg in the face at the Strikeforce event on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.

    Esther Lin, Strikeforce

    SAN JOSE, CA - AUGUST 15: Cris Cyborg (R) battles Gina Carano during their Middleweight Championship fight at Stikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg on August 15, 2009 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

    Jon Kopaloff, Getty Images

    Cris "Cyborg" Santos, of Brazil, top, punches Gina Carano in a Strikeforce mixed martial arts Female Middleweight Championship match on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. Santos won by TKO in the first round to win the championship. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    Jeff Chiu, AP

    SAN JOSE, CA - AUGUST 15: Cris Cyborg (Top) battles Gina Carano during their Middleweight Championship fight at Stikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg on August 15, 2009 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

    Jon Kopaloff, Getty Images

    Cris "Cyborg" Santos, of Brazil, celebrates after beating Gina Carano in a Strikeforce mixed martial arts Female Middleweight Championship match on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. Santos won by TKO in the first round to win the championship. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Cris "Cyborg" Santos, of Brazil, celebrates after beating Gina Carano in a Strikeforce mixed martial arts Female Middleweight Championship match on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. Santos won by TKO in the first round to win the championship. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    Jeff Chiu, AP

    Cris Cyborg celebrates her victory over Gina Carano to win the Strikeforce title on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.

    Esther Lin, Strikeforce

    Gegard Mousasi dominates the fight against Babalu Sobral, winning the fight in one minute at the Strikeforce event on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, in San Jose, California.

    Esther Lin, Strikeforce

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