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Thread: Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez will likely get immediate title shot in the UFC

  1. Default Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez will likely get immediate title shot in the UFC

    Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez likely to get quick title shot in UFC | News

    LAS VEGAS – Now that the fate of Strikeforce has been determined, the fates of many of its marquee fighters are starting to trickle out.

    For lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, that could wind up meaning an instant title shot against UFC champion Benson Henderson.

    UFC President Dana White on Thursday told a small group of reporters following a pre-event news conference for UFC 155 that Strikeforce's top fighters will be making their way to the UFC now that the promotion officially will fold following its final show – a Jan. 12 card in Oklahoma City.

    And while White had to temper his quick reaction to Melendez by leaving open the possibility that anything could happen, it could be good news for Melendez.

    "(Melendez will) probably come right in and get a title shot," White said. "Again, we'll see."
    White expressed his disappointment for how many Strikeforce fighters' past year has been. The promotion had to cancel a pair of fall events, and if fighters on the roster aren't booked for the final show in January on Showtime, their fates may have been up in the air.

    But along with the official news of Strikeforce's final show came several fight bookings for upcoming UFC shows with Strikeforce fighters crossing over, including Derek Brunson, who fights Saturday at UFC 155 to open the pay-per-view card against Chris Leben.

    "What has happened to the fighters in Strikeforce is horrible," White said. "The way this thing went down is horrible, and they've been very patient. What's happened over there has been completely s---ty."
    Melendez (19-2 MMA, 11-1 SF) has been Strikeforce's lightweight champion, either in interim or unified form, since 2009. He owns seven straight wins in the promotion, all title fights. He most recently fought in May, when he defended his title in a trilogy fight with Josh Thomson.

    He was set to defend it in September against Pat Healy. But when an injury led to the cancellation of Strikeforce's show in Sacramento, Calif. He found his way onto the Jan. 12 show in the main event, also against Healy. But when he wasn't ready to return from the injury rehab, he again was pulled.

    If he does find his way into an immediate title shot when he officially comes to the UFC, it could be at the detriment of either Donald Cerrone or Anthony Pettis. Those two former WEC lightweights meet at UFC on FOX 6 in January, and it has been widely believed that the winner will get the next shot at Henderson, who defended his title against Nate Diaz earlier this month.

    But no time frame for Melendez's first UFC fight has been determined, so if the injury keeps him out further into 2013, it's still conceivable that the Cerrone-Pettis winner could fight Henderson, with Melendez getting a shot later in the calendar year in what would presumably be a title unification fight for the UFC and Strikeforce belts in the same type of way the UFC held title unification fights with former PRIDE champions.

    Regardless of what might happen, White said he's glad the battle of Strikeforce, the lines of which primarily were drawn along the broadcast partnership with Showtime, is finally over.

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    Melendez vs Bendo would be a hell of a fight.
    I have Bendo as a slight favorite, but it should a great 5 rounder War.
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    I used to have Gil ranked pretty high but his last few fights have revealed some holes. It'll be interesting to see if he starting to slide or if he just hasn't been focused with all the SF shenanigans.

    Either way, he hasn't fought high enough caliber talent to warrant an immediate shot in my view. Immediate #1 contender fight that would also guarantee no "UFC jitters" in the title fight, that's my vote.
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    Awww 1st loss in the ufc.

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    Eddie Vs Gil first please.

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    Remember when Pettis came over post-WEC merger with all that "Showtime Kick" hype, but before he got the title unification bout, he lost to Clay and his momentum was pretty much derailed and that money match went down the tubes?

    I feel as though ZUFFA won't want to run the risk of spoiling another title unification bout by having Gil against say, a Maynard(who I think tears Gil up), so my money is on Gil getting Bendo immediately so they don't lose that big bout, despite maybe not believing Gil is really a top contender in comparision to the elite UFC LWs at the moment.

    As said above, Gil's last two fights have been underwhelming and I think he's dodging a big bullet in the underrated Pat Healy, whose style could really trap Gil in some quicksand. Healy is all about hustle and pace and Gil has come in looking doughie and somewhat lax in his last two(and I had him losing to Punk last time out...)

    IMO, the LW division has gotten really, REALLY interesting as of late, when you factor in the SF moves, Cerrone/Pettis, the potential of Eddie FINALLY getting to the big show(I think Nate or Miller would be stellar debut matchups) and surging, under-the-radar LWs such as Khabib, Wiman, Grant and dos Anjos, there will be alot of cool matchups coming down the pipe in the first quarter of 2013 and I for one, am really excited to see what comes out of the deepest division.

    I like Gil, but am tenative to say "give him a tune up fight" and recommend making hay while the sun shines on him...

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    Yeah, Bendo dominates this fight 9 times out of 10. I'd be more interested in seeing Gilbert drop to 145. A fight with Frankie at 145 is kind of a dream match of mine. That said Frankie takes that too. I don't think Melendez has really been challenged in Strikeforce like he will be in UFC. We'll all see what he's really made of when he makes the transition.

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    I like Melendez but I doubt he makes top 5 in ufc lw division.

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    Think an Alvarez v Melendez fight for a title shot makes more sense. Gives the chance for the ufc to hype both them up a bit and build one of them up a bit before getting a title shot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fedorlei Gomipierre View Post
    Remember when Pettis came over post-WEC merger with all that "Showtime Kick" hype, but before he got the title unification bout, he lost to Clay and his momentum was pretty much derailed and that money match went down the tubes?

    I feel as though ZUFFA won't want to run the risk of spoiling another title unification bout by having Gil against say, a Maynard(who I think tears Gil up), so my money is on Gil getting Bendo immediately so they don't lose that big bout, despite maybe not believing Gil is really a top contender in comparision to the elite UFC LWs at the moment.

    As said above, Gil's last two fights have been underwhelming and I think he's dodging a big bullet in the underrated Pat Healy, whose style could really trap Gil in some quicksand. Healy is all about hustle and pace and Gil has come in looking doughie and somewhat lax in his last two(and I had him losing to Punk last time out...)

    IMO, the LW division has gotten really, REALLY interesting as of late, when you factor in the SF moves, Cerrone/Pettis, the potential of Eddie FINALLY getting to the big show(I think Nate or Miller would be stellar debut matchups) and surging, under-the-radar LWs such as Khabib, Wiman, Grant and dos Anjos, there will be alot of cool matchups coming down the pipe in the first quarter of 2013 and I for one, am really excited to see what comes out of the deepest division.

    I like Gil, but am tenative to say "give him a tune up fight" and recommend making hay while the sun shines on him...
    I totally agree, and I attribute Gil looking doughie and underwhelming lately due to a lack of motivation. He really doesn't want to fight underrated guys in SF anymore, he's made it clear publicly, and it's showing in his performances.

    Give him a title shot right off the bat. It'll (hopefully) light a fire under his ass. Also, a champ vs champ fight always sells.

    Personally, I think Thomson would also be a great acquisition for the UFC. The guy is very underrated. Also Noons, but he seems to have lost a lot of motivation lately. He looked like a killer in some of his SF fights, and maybe he'll find some motivation if they'd be willing to give him a shot. Same with Masvidal and Healy of course.

    The division is going to be insanely deep; I predict a lot more guys will be moving to lighter weights since there isn't enough room for all this talent at LW.


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