clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Gilbert Melendez Tops Jorge Masvidal, Retains Strikeforce Lightweight Belt

Gilbert Melendez won't get a chance to demonstrate that he's the best lightweight in the world any time soon. But he demonstrated once again on Saturday night that he's the best lightweight in Strikeforce.

In the main event of Saturday night's fight card in San Diego, Melendez had a fairly easy time beating Jorge Masvidal, winning 50-45 on two judges' scorecards and 49-46 on the third.

The fight came just days after Zuffa, the parent company of Strikeforce and the UFC, confirmed that it will keep the Strikeforce and UFC brands separate, and that Melendez will stay in Strikeforce. That had to come as a disappointment to Melendez, who had said he wanted to fight the best of the best in the UFC, but nothing he did on Saturday night will have fans clamoring to see him fight the UFC champ. This was a workmanlike victory, but not a dominant performance.

After the fight Melendez said he hopes Zuffa will give him some better opponents to face.

"I'm proud to be a part of Strikeforce, and Showtime's amazing," Melendez said. "But you know what? They need to bring some guys over here to challenge me."

In the first round Melendez landed quick combinations of punches while Masvidal did a lot of showboating and challenging but not a lot of actual fighting. Masvidal did knock Melendez down briefly with a leg kick, but the first round clearly belonged to Melendez, who threw more punches, and landed more punches, with more power.

In the second round Melendez continued to batter Masvidal with punches, and Masvidal didn't do much in response other than try to jab Melendez away. Melendez wasn't spectacular in the second round, but he was solid, and he built up a 20-18 lead.

As the third round wore on Melendez began to look tired, and some of Masvidal's jabs were starting to get through. Masvidal had been less active in the first two rounds, and that allowed him to stay fresher into the third, and it appeared that the tide in the fight was beginning to turn.

If Masvidal was building up any momentum in the third round, however, he didn't do much to capitalize in the fourth. That round was basically a boxing match, and Melendez landed more punches -- although both fighters had slowed down, and by the end of the fourth round the fans were booing.

By the fifth both fighters were exhausted and the pace had slowed, and Masvidal surprisingly didn't seem to think he needed to press the action and finish the fight. Melendez did enough to win the round and win the fight, even if it wasn't a great performance.