The home base of the Strikeforce promotion, the HP Pavilion in San Jose, on Saturday night hosts a show that may as well have been themed as the battle of promotions.
In the main event, Gilbert Melendez (21-2) , arguably the best fighter over the seven-year history of the Strikeforce promotion, challenges UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (18-2) in a five-round title fight.
Melendez held either the interim version or regular version of the lightweight title for all but 378 days during the promotion's history. During most of that time, he constantly talked about wanting to be ranked No. 1 in the world.
After Saturday, there will be no more debating the issue, as the long asked question will have an answer.
Henderson, 29, weighed in at 155 pounds, having to strip to make it Melendez, one of the top fighters in his weight class from the age of 22, is now an experienced fighter who turned 31 last week. Weighing 154 pounds, he looked physically in the best condition of his career, and was remarkably calm leading into the fight.
But that's one of nine fights featuring alums of the promotion that was formally put to rest, some would say put out of its misery, in January. Strikeforce alums vs. UFC stars is also the theme of all four fights on the main FOX card.
Besides Melendez, the alums include Daniel Cormier, who won the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix making him the group's unofficial champion; Josh Thomson, the promotion's perennial No. 2 lightweight; Jordan Mein, a rising welterweight star; Lorenz Larkin, who was about to get a middleweight title shot when the promotion folded; Darren Uyenoyama; Jorge Masvidal, a onetime lightweight title challenger; Roger Bowling and 2000 Olympic wrestling silver medalist Yoel Romero. Technically, you could add Nate Diaz to that list, as he had his third career fight on the night Strikeforce debuted, on March 10, 2006, in the same arena, but only fought for them once and has been a UFC regular since 2007.
In the eyes of UFC, everyone is now a UFC fighter, and former affiliations don't matter and aren't being promoted heavily. Instead, the focus has been on the action-packed nature of the main fights.
It's such a deep card that the No. 1 ranked contender in both the featherweight and flyweight divisions, Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez, both based in nearby Sacramento, are relegated to the FX fights.
There were no major incidents at the weigh-ins, held at the California Theater in downtown San Jose, with the most tense coming when heavyweights Frank Mir and Daniel Cormier whispered what appeared to be threats to each other from close range for the second straight day.
Complete weigh-in results:
Facebook fights at 4 p.m. Eastern time
Yoel Romero (185) vs. Clifford Starks (185.5)
Roger Bowling (156) vs. Anthony Njokuani (155)
FX fights at 5 p.m.
Hugo Viana (135) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (136)
Jorge Masvidal (156) vs. Tim Means (156)
Darren Uyenoyama (125) vs. Joseph Benavidez (125)
Myles Jury (156) vs. Ramsey Nijem (156)
Lorenz Larkin (186) vs. Francis Carmont (186)
Darren Elkins (145) vs. Chad Mendes (146)
FOX fights at 8 p.m.
Jordan Mein (170) vs. Matt Brown (171)
Josh Thomson (155) vs. Nate Diaz (156)
Daniel Cormier (235) vs. Frank Mir (257)
Benson Henderson (155) vs. Gilbert Melendez (154) for the UFC lightweight title