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Tag: Gilbert Melendez

UFC on FOX 7: Henderson vs. Melendez — Live Results and Commentary


(Premature celebration. Always a great idea. / Photo via CombatLifestyle.com. For more images from this set, click here.)

Tonight at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, top-ranked lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez will finally get his chance to prove himself in the Octagon — with Benson Henderson‘s belt on the line — while undefeated phenom Daniel Cormier will attempt to justify his own swelling hype in a heavyweight matchup with Frank Mir. Add in all the other UFC vs. Strikeforce matchups, and you basically have MMA’s version of the Sharks vs. the Jets, but with the dance steps replaced by middle fingers in your got-damn face. So will the latest batch of Strikeforce crossovers make the grade or will they go up in smoke?

Taking you through the action tonight is our good friend Elias Cepeda, who’s giving us round-by-round results from the UFC on FOX 7 main card broadcast after the jump beginning at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and share your own thoughts in the comments section.

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Breaking Down All Eight ‘UFC vs. Strikeforce’ Bouts on This Saturday’s Henderson vs. Melendez Card

As we pointed out on Facebook earlier today, the entire main card of this Saturday’s UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Melendez event features a UFC veteran taking on a former Strikeforce standout. What’s more, there are four fights on the prelims that fit this same pattern. While the UFC has set up cards along national lines in the past — see UFC 58: USA vs. Canada and UFC 117: USA vs. Brazil, Pretty Much they’ve never been this overt with their UFC vs. Strikeforce matchmaking. Will the UFC vets fight harder in an attempt to defend their turf? Will the Strikeforce crossovers band together to continue their invasion of the Octagon? Take a look at all eight matchups below and let us know which side you think will emerge victorious.

Headshot images via Card/The UG.


BENSON HENDERSON vs. GILBERT MELENDEZ (for UFC lightweight title)
The odds say: Bendo is a strong favorite to defend his belt at -250.
We say:
When you put this much talent into the cage at the same time, anything can happen. But while we think this fight will be closer than the betting line reflects, there’s been an unbreakable, unstoppable quality to Henderson’s performances during his 6-0 UFC run. Until we see how Melendez actually performs in the Octagon, we’re picking the champ.


FRANK MIR vs. DANIEL CORMIER (HW)
The odds say: Cormier is a virtual lock at -375.
We say:
That sounds about right. Cormier has all the skills to be a future UFC champ, and barring any freakish leglocks, Frank Mir is just a stop along the way.

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[VIDEO] UFC on Fox 7: Melendez vs. Henderson — ‘Road to the Octagon’ Preview Show


(Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

It’s as simple as this — Saturday’s UFC on Fox 7: Henderson vs. Melendez card features top-ranked fighters and heavy stakes. As such, we love getting a lil’ something extra in anticipation of it. This UFC on Fox 7: Road to the Octagon documentary gives us just that, including behind-the-scenes footage with Benson Henderson (competing at a Jiu Jitsu tournament with his mom, working out with the NFL’s Larry Fitzgerald), Gilbert Melendez (at home and at work with his ex-fighter fiance and business partner, chilling with his tight-knit ‘Skrap Pack’), Frank Mir (crying, and on a flight to New Mexico to conduct the first training camp of his career away from his wife and twenty kids) and more pre-fight action from Josh Thomson, Nate Diaz, and Daniel Cormier.

It’s a good way to waste your lunch hour today — better, at least, than talking to that weird guy at the office who always just eats a can of soup for lunch, like, every day. (Seriously? Get some protein in there, you’re a grown ass man.) Anyway, watch it and tune in Saturday. It’s free, so you’ve got no excuse not to, fight fans.

-Elias Cepeda

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[VIDEO] Benson Henderson Competes at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Pan-Am Championships


(Video by Budo Videos)

Last week, UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson was just one month away from a nationally televised title defense against Gilbert Melendez, but he still managed to get in a couple Jiu Jitsu matches in one of the world’s most prestigious grappling tournaments. Henderson competed in the brown belt ability division of the BJJ Pan-Am Championships last week and, though he was eventually eliminated and did not place, he showed that he could hang with guys who spend all of their time training in BJJ’s weird set of gi rules, despite doing it just as a hobby.

In the above match, Henderson takes on Brazilian Pedro Alcantara in the middleweight division. The action comes in spurts but the match is very closely contested with Alcantara threatening with omo-plata shoulder locks and sweeps off of his back, and Henderson defending, working for take downs and passing guard.

The two start the match feinting with shot attempts before Alcantara pulls full guard. It doesn’t take him long to pull in Henderson’s right shoulder and work for triangle chokes, which the fighter shrugs off, and then shoulder locks. Initially, Alcantara is able to use the lock to sweep Henderson, earning points.

Henderson hangs tough and refuses to let Alcantara pass his guard. Eventually, Henderson is able to stand up and score a take down. On the ground, he proves better at passing than Alcantara was and pressures and angles until he secures the side mount and earns more points.

Recovering his guard, Alcantara threatens more with the shoulder lock, but this time Henderson will not be moved, and effectively stops both the submission and sweep attempts. The match ends and Henderson has won on points.

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Gracie, Mousasi, Marquardt Among Strikeforce Fighters Headed to the UFC


(Oh yeah, this guy is headed over as well. Thank God for that.)

As we reported yesterday, Jorge Gurgel’s claim that the fighters who came up short at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine would find themselves out of a UFC contract was not exactly truthful. KJ Noons, Kurt Holobaugh, and Anthony Smith, for example, all suffered defeats at the event and were ironically the first names to be mentioned in the Strikeforce/UFC…migration, I guess?

On last night’s edition of UFC Tonight, the full list of Strikeforce fighters who would be making the transition to the big leagues was announced, and suffice it to say, there were a couple rather puzzling omissions and inclusions. After the jump is that full list, along with our thoughts on who some of these gentlemen should face in their UFC debuts.

HEAVYWEIGHT 
-Daniel Cormier (11-0 MMA, 8-0 SF)

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT 
-Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2 MMA, 4-1-1 SF)
-Gian Villante (10-3 MMA, 3-2 SF)

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Ben Henderson to Defend Lightweight Title Against Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 7 in April


(Photo via Esther Lin for Strikeforce)

Update: The booking has been confirmed.

According to a new report from MMAFighting that cites “sources with knowledge of the situation,” reigning UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson will attempt to make his third title-defense against longtime Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 7, which is slated to go down April 20th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

Henderson is coming off arguably the most impressive win of his career, dominating Gilbert’s homey Nate Diaz for five rounds in their meeting last month at UFC on FOX 5. It was the sixth-consecutive win for “Smooth” since he migrated to the UFC from the WEC, though Henderson has yet to score a stoppage victory in the Octagon. That’s not likely to change against Melendez, who has never been knocked out or submitted in 23 professional fights.

Melendez picked up his seventh-straight win in May 2012, winning a split-decision in a rubber match against Josh Thompson. Since then, the Cesar Gracie product has been sidelined by injury after injury. And though we were skeptical of Melendez’s latest withdrawal — the Cesar Gracie fighter had much more to lose from a fight against Pat Healy at Strikeforce’s final event than he stood to gain, and may have acted accordingly — it’s clear that his devious plan worked.

But before you go booking your travel plans, MMAFighting adds this caveat:

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Gilbert Melendez to “Probably” Receive an Immediate UFC Title Shot When Strikeforce Finally Dies


(And there was much rejoicing…)

If any of you were questioning Gilbert Melendez’s decision to remain off Strikeforce’s final card in January, maybe now you can see his motivation. In a recent interview with MMAJunkie, Dana White revealed that “El Nino” would “probably” receive an immediate title shot when he makes the trip over to the UFC, a statement that will more than likely be responsible for hundreds of conspiracy theories regarding the legitimacy of Melendez’s recent injuries. Of course, this came just before The Baldfather lamented about how bad Strikeforce fighters have had it since the UFC absorbed the promotion (presumably while mimicking Shooter McGavin), so perhaps we should take his statement with a grain of salt:

(Melendez will) probably come right in and get a title shot. Again, we’ll see.

What has happened to the fighters in Strikeforce is horrible. The way this thing went down is horrible, and they’ve been very patient. What’s happened over there has been completely s—ty.

Right, and we’re sure Hitler felt awfully bad about the living conditions at Auschwitz as well. “No veigh? Zey don’t even get a nice cot to szleep on? Zose bastards!” We’re not comparing Dana White to Hitler, we’re just saying.

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Gilbert Melendez Makes His Case for a ‘Champion vs. Champion’ Fight Against Benson Henderson


(Melendez slugs Shinya Aoki in the head, back when slugging Shinya Aoki in the head actually meant something. / Photo via Esther Lin)

Though he’s still recovering from the nagging shoulder injury that pulled him off of Strikeforce’s possibly-final event (and led to the straight-up cancellation of their previous card) Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez knows exactly what he wants to do when he’s healthy again — roll the dice against UFC champ Ben Henderson. The Cesar Gracie product, who just saw his homeboy Nate Diaz get run over by Bendo last weekend, pleaded his case in a new interview with BleacherReport, running down all the reasons why he should get the next crack at Henderson:

I think a champion versus champion fight makes absolute sense right now. I think we already know how things are going to work out between Benson Henderson and a lot of other lightweight fighters in the UFC, but I’m that mystery fighter. No one really knows how I’m going to matchup with anyone. I have been around for a long time and have been the top lightweight in the world before Benson or any of these other guys.

I think I have a lot of answers for his style. Sometimes he fights a wrestler like Guida who doesn’t have great hands, and sometimes he fights strikers who can’t really wrestle. Look at his fights against “Cowboy” Cerrone back in the day, or even Pettis. I have that wrestling pedigree where he ain’t taking me down, and I’ll be stuffing some shots. I’m not backing away, and I’ll be dropping some bombs. I’m not an easy guy to stand with. I have a lot of power, and I’m not running away from kicks. I don’t run away from anything. I hold my ground. I’ll be coming for him, and anything he dishes out I’ll be answering back twice as hard.”

Later in the interview, Melendez discussed how the reports of Strikeforce’s impending demise — and the coronation of Ronda Rousey as the UFC’s first women’s champion — actually got him excited about the future again, since Melendez could finally get the opportunity to fight some of the best lightweights in the world:

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With Gil Melendez Hurt, Pat Healy Draws Jorge Masvidal for Strikeforce: Eh, Fuck It

Before we get into the Pat Healy/Jorge Masvidal booking –which we’re sure will rustle your jimmies to no end — we’d like to discuss the actual name Strikeforce has decided upon for its final event and how it more or less serves as a euphemism for Strikeforce as a company over the past couple years. Champions. They named the event Champions. It made sense originally, with nearly every one of their belts being on the line, meaningless as they were. But one groundbreaking signing and a slew of injuries later, and Strikeforce’s final card — their swan song, their dying epilogue, the culmination of years of blood, sweat, and tears — will die a vapid, depleted shell of what it once was. Like Layne Staley.

Two of our title fights have been canceled. Daniel Cormier is fighting a complete wild card and it isn’t even for the title. Is Nate Marquardt defending his newly earned welterweight title against Tarec Saffiedine? Who the hell cares; one of them is going down in the next week and you can mark my words on that. We may like to have our fun at Strikeforce’s expense around here, but they deserved better than this. They gave us Gina Carano in a towel damn it. They gave us this gif of Ronda Rousey. Not to mention all of the less sexual, fight-related stuff they gave us, like Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley, Scott Smith’s epic comebacks, and the God damned Nashville Brawl.

And now, they’ve been drained dry. Scott Coker had a milkshake, and Dana White had a milkshake and a straw, and Dana drank Coker’s milkshake.

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Gil Melendez Injured/Realizes It Would be Pointless to Fight Again in Strikeforce, Will Not Fight on January Card

Strikeforce lightweight champion Gil Melendez‘ coach Cesar Gracie recently told Tatame that his fighter is still injured, not “training hard,” and will not fight on what many assume will be Strikeforce’s final event in January. “I think he never recovered from the shoulder injury and will not be able to fight in January,” Google Translator tells us that Gracie told the Portuguese outlet.

Melendez already pulled out of a no-win title defense against Pat Healy and, though we have no doubt he is still battling injury, has to also realize that other than the purse he’d get for fighting, he would be risking far more than he might gain by fighting one last time in the doomed organization. If Strikeforce is dissolved while Melendez is the champion he will almost certainly, at long last, be brought into the UFC fold.

Should he lose, he might still be brought over but if he is, he would be worth far less and would probably have a longer route to a UFC title shot. As Strikeforce champion, Gilbert could always make a claim for an immediate or close-to-immediate title shot under the “let’s unify this thing” type of argument made most recently and successfully by his teammate Nick Diaz.

We’ve loved Strikeforce for a long time but if it is going to continue to hobble along like this, we can only hope that the UFC figures out a way to shut them down and absorb the fighters asap.

- Elias Cepeda

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