We reported last week that Cristiano Marcello was claiming to be Gilbert Melendez‘s opponent when the Strikeforce lightweight champ fights on March 29th, but now it appears that isn’t the case afterall. Strikeforce VP Mike Afromowitz has told MMAJunkie that nothing was signed for a Melendez/Marcello fight, but an opponent for Gilby might be revealed today. This is the third switch in plans for Melendez in the past week and a half – he was originally slated to be part of Dream 1‘s Lightweight Grand Prix, but then revealed he would instead defend his belt at the EliteXC/Strikeforce event “Shamrock vs Cung Le“.
Change has been the norm for Melendez of late. Before all this, he had been scheduled to fight other opponents — Josh Thompson and Jorge Masvidal — but they withdrew due to various injuries. The changes and rumors have been crazy for this guy, so stay tuned for updates in a few hours when Melendez will probably next be slated to headline a WWE event versus Hong-Man Choi — cornered by Rickson Gracie.
Speaking of Gracie, Cesar Gracie’s Graciefighter site is reporting that Nick Diaz will make his return on March 29th against Jae Suk Lim (aka, “The Korean Ice Pick”), the SpiritMC middleweight title holder. This is despite Lim saying after his last fight that he would next fight under ICON Sport. You’ll recall that Nick recently had plastic surgery to fix some of the scar tissue that was built up around his eyes. His volcanic eyeballs were the cause of his last loss — a doctor stoppage against KJ Noons. Well, scar tissue and getting punched in the face a lot were the cause.
“The Korean Ice Pick” is 9-3 and although not a huge name to MMA fans, he’s got the tools to bring it to Diaz. You might remember him from EliteXC: Renegade when he beat Daniel Pinedo via rear naked choke. Lim marks a change in plans for Diaz as well — Nick was originally to fight Muhsin Corbbrey on April 26th, but that fell through and Diaz was signed for the EliteXC/Strikeforce March event.