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Tag: Gilbert Melendez

‘Shamrock vs. Le’: Fight-by-Fight Rundown

SvL
(The Good, the Bad, and the Leathery.)

Cyborg, Shields, and Mean Mr. Munchies may be M.I.A., but tomorrow night’s EliteXC/Strikeforce show still has some very compelling match-ups going for it, including a main event that will pit the fan-hyped Cung Le against the self-hyped Frank Shamrock in a middleweight championship bout. You can catch the action on Showtime starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Here’s what the televised lineup looks like…

Shamrock vs. Le (for Strikeforce middleweight title)
Frank (24-8-1) has talked his usual trash about how he’s going to spank the relatively inexperienced Le (5-0), but trust us, it’s only for promotional purposes; Shamrock isn’t dumb enough to actually believe he’ll be cruising through an easy one tomorrow, and unlike his brother Ken, he’s not dumb enough to stand and trade with a superior striker. Le has the most devastating kicks in MMA right now, and he ended his last fight — against Sam Morgan last November — via the ultra-rare body-kick KO. But like other fighters who come from a kickboxing background, Le’s long-range kicks often leave him open for single-leg takedowns, and Shamrock could capitalize. He’ll certainly be looking to take the fight to the ground when the moment is right and finish Le by submission, and we think Shammy will succeed in the second or third round. If they really wanted to make this one interesting, the loser would have to accept eternal banishment from San Jose.

Drew Fickett vs. Jae Suk Lim (welterweights)
A.k.a., “The Battle of the Guys Who Were Supposed to Be Fighting Other Guys.” Rage in the Cage/UFC vet Drew Fickett (32-5) has choked out fighters like Josh Koscheck, Kurt Pellegrino, and Carlo Prater, and has generally faced much tougher competition than “The Korean Icepick” (9-3), who spent most of his career in Spirit MC. We’re loving Lim’s nickname, but it’s not going to help him much against the far-more-experienced Arizona native. Both men hadn’t been preparing to face each other, so it’s a bit of a wash, but judging from how Fickett’s done against guys with Lim’s skill level, we’d say a first-round submission victory is nearly inevitable.

SvL2

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Diaz & Melendez Fight Updates

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.

The show now includes Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le, Jake Shields vs. Drew Fickett, Nick Diaz and Gilbert Melendez. This is a fightcard we’re liking.

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Gilbert Melendez Out of Dream 1, In For Strikeforce/EliteXC Event


(Gilbert Melendez pounds Tatsuya Kawajiri.)

Another late March cancelled fight is now back on, but a mid-March battle is off. We’re just trying to keep up. Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez was originally scheduled to fight Jorge Masvidal at the Strikeforce/EliteXC March 29th event. That match was called off when Masvidal had to drop out because of a shin injury. It looked like Melendez was going to skip the event as he was rumored to be competing in the Lightweight Grand Prix at Dream 1 on March 15th.

MMAWeekly reports that Chute Boxe jiu-jitsu coach Cristiano Marcello has stepped in to fight Melendez, so Gilby is on the March 29th fight card. Marcello confirmed the fight:

“Melendez is an excellent fighter and I am very happy to face him, especially on Strikeforce, which is a great event. We are going to travel together, me, (Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos), Master Rafael (Cordeiro) and Rudimar (Fedrigo). Cyborg will fight at the same event and we are going to make a huge presentation for the fans.”

Melendez spoke on why he is defending his belt on the 29th instead of going to Japan for Dream 1, and that he’s going to defend the belt “ferociously”.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to fight in the Dream tournament. I love fighting in Japan, but right now I have a commitment with Strikeforce. I’m looking to just put my focus on Strikeforce; I’ve got a contract there and want to fulfill it.”

“More than anyone, fans, people, my family, it’s important to me to come out ferocious, mean and show people I’m here to stay,” he exclaimed. “I’m focused and it means a lot to me to not only win, but win with bad intentions and put on a good show for the fans.”

Both Melendez and Marcello are vets of PRIDE, but also share the fact that their last loss was to Mitsuhiro Ishida. You can check out the first part of Melendez battling Ishida after the jump. For parts two and three of the fight, go here and here.

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Separated at Birth: Triplet Edition

Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez

American Idol runner-up Justin Guarini

…and Sideshow Bob.

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Injury Changes Strikeforce Card; “Semtex” Confirms Retirement


(Melendez – and his hair – in need of an opponent.)

— Strikeforce lightweight title-holder Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez was supposed to fight Jorge Masvidal at the Strikeforce/EliteXC March 29th event – but the fight has been cancelled due to a shin injury Masvidal received during “Strikeforce at the Dome” in Washington. The injury came in a fight against Ryan Healy, which Masvidal won by decision. A replacement could be named soon to battle Melendez since he is one of the top fighters on the card. Middleweight champ Frank Shamrock will put his title on the line against Cung Le in the highly-anticipated main event.

Melendez is 13-1, snapping a 13-fight win streak and picking up his first loss at “Yarennoka!” on New Year’s Eve. He lost via decision to PRIDE vet Mitsuhiro Ishida. The lightweight has seen success almost everywhere he’s fought, including Strikeforce, PRIDE, WEC, and ROTR. El Niño’s ex-opponent, Masvidal, has seen recent success in Strikeforce and BodogFIGHT and boasts wins over dudes like Joe Lauzon and Yves Edwards.

— We reported the surprising retirement of welterweight star Paul “Semtex” Daley earlier this week. The out-of-nowhere announcement was posted on Cage Warriors’ message board. While speculation to Daley’s retirement at age 25 ranged from him being bored with the sport to a ploy to pull in a huge payday from the highest bidder, it’s still unclear to why he would do this or if it was just a hoax. Sherdog was able to reach FX-3 promoter Paul James, who confirmed Daley would be giving up his EliteXC position after he fulfills his contract on March 29th. And in a text message exchange with Daley, they say the fighter refused to talk about the decision because he didn’t want to make a big deal of it. Well, it is a big deal to us when a star athlete who could dominate their division decides to drop it all.

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