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Strikeforce Champ Gilbert Melendez Brutalizes Tatsuya Kawajiri

Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez made short work of Tatsuya Kawajiri on Saturday night, pummeling him with powerful strikes and finishing him with brutal elbows to the head on the ground to win a first-round technical knockout.

Melendez beat Kawajiri in a close decision in Pride in 2006, but there was nothing close this time around: Melendez dropped Kawajiri with punches in the opening seconds of the first round, blasted him with knees in the Thai clinch, took control on the ground and eventually finished the fight with vicious elbows.

"That's my style," Melendez said afterward. "I don't know how to fight any other way."

Melendez noted, correctly, that he's a much better fighter now than he was when he faced Kawajiri the first time.

"I'm a man now," Melendez said. "It's been a long time and I've been training hard."

Kawajiri is a good fighter and an exciting fighter, but he was no match at all for Melendez, who needed just three minutes, 14 seconds to finish the fight. Melendez is one of the best lightweights in all of mixed martial arts, and the sooner he can start taking on better quality opposition in the UFC, the better.

"I think it's time we unify some titles," Melendez said. "I'm the No. 1 lightweight in the world."

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