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Tag: Gilbert Melendez

Gilbert Melendez on UFC Lightweights: ‘It’s Not Like Those Guys Are Anything Special’


(Finally, some competition. PicProps: MMA Core)

From yesterday’s conference call where Nick Diaz accused Josh Koscheck and Georges St. Pierre of fighting lesser competition as Diaz himself prepares to defend his Strikeforce title against, uh, Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos to Cesar Gracie telling Ariel Helwani that he doesn’t think Greg Jackson is actually that good of a coach, things are just getting bizarre with the Scrap Pack these days. Whatever planet these dudes are living on, it’s clear that they own the place, while the rest of us are just visiting.

Enter Gilbert Melendez, who tells RingsideReport.com this week that he’s the man to beat at 155-pounds right now. All this noise about Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard? Melendez ain’t trying to hear that, see. But just in case you’re wondering if Melendez might be interested in proving his point, of signing with the UFC so he can actually fight the other top contenders in his weight class: Forget it. It’s those guys who should be coming to him.

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Four Rubber Matches That Absolutely Need to Happen

BJ Penn UFC 123
(We should all be that fired up, at least once in our lives. Props: UFC.com)

When BJ Penn knocked out Matt Hughes at UFC 123, one of the greatest rivalries in MMA history finally got its conclusion. And while not every two-fight series needs an immediate tie-breaker — the Internet has already informed Dana White what we think of Lesnar vs. Mir III — there’s something incredibly dramatic and satisfying about a good rubber-match. Off the top of our heads, here’s a few others we’d like to see…

Jason "Mayhem" Miller vs. Tim Kennedy
Tim Kennedy Jason Mayhem Miller MMA photos
History: Kennedy def. Miller via decision @ Extreme Challenge 50 (2/23/03), Miller def. Kennedy via decision @ HDNet Fights: Reckless Abandon (12/15/07)
Why it needs to happen again: Look, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for Jason Miller to agree to a catchweight fight with Nick Diaz under 185 pounds. Mayhem hasn’t even fought for Strikeforce since he squashed Tim Stout in April, and Kennedy is still without an opponent himself after dropping a decision to Jacare Souza in August — and he’s already mentioned that he wants another go-round with Mayhem. Strikeforce has two talented, unattached middleweights at their disposal with a storyline already in place. It doesn’t take rocket appliances to figure this out, guys.

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Jake Shields Close to Being a UFC Fighter; Says Strikeforce’s Problem is that the Company Only Pushes Has-Beens


(Shields was pleasantly surprised to find his locker at the UFC training centre stuffed with the "respect" Strikeforce failed to show him.)

When Jake Shields announced that he would be testing the free agent waters when his Strikeforce contract ended this summer, every MMA fan and journalist collectively thought, "He’s going to the UFC." Strikeforce must have been thinking the same thing, considering they let Shields, who is their middleweight champ, go without a fight by releasing him without tendering a final offer before he began the open negotiation period with other promotions.

Even if a company like the UFC made an offer, Strikeforce, by rights could have matched any offer on the table, but by releasing him from his contract, the only thing they did was possibly prevent a bidding war resulting salary increase for Shields.

He told BJPenn.com that the release was totally unexpected.

“It came as kind of a surprise. I hadn’t really been talking to Strikeforce and pretty much everyone knows that I want to go to the UFC. We got our negotiations going with the UFC and they (Strikeforce) dropped me without any warning and it came out of nowhere. It is what it is and I’m moving ahead with the UFC contract and hopefully that will be worked out soon.”
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Tennessee Athletic Commission May Hand Suspensions and Fines to Five “Unnamed” Individuals Involved in Strikeforce Brawl


(Pretty sure we know who these "unnamed" individuals are)

Loretta Hunt from Sherdog is reporting that the Tennessee State Athletic Commission has recommended that five "unnamed" individuals involved in the April 17 post-fight Strikeforce: Nashville brawl face stiff punishments to the tune of a $20,000 fine and nine-month suspension from competing and cornering fighters at MMA events sanctioned by the Association of Boxing Commission partnering agencies.

According to Hunt, a sixth person was also identified and will also be cited for his part in the brawl, although the party was not licensed by the TAC for the event.

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Strikeforce: Nashville — Live Results and Commentary, Y’all

Gegard Mousasi King Mo Muhammed Lawal Strikeforce Nashville weigh in photos
("You believe this guy? No towel between his head and hat. I will never understand some people as long as I live." Photo courtesy of the Strikeforce Weigh In Pics gallery on CombatLifestyle.com.)

A note before we get started: The CBS broadcast of tonight’s Strikeforce event may not be live in all areas, so please check your local listings before you run headlong into spoilerville. Now then, we’ve got a short but sweet lineup of fights in store for us, with three titles on the line: Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez defends his belt against invading DREAM champ Shinya Aoki, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal attempts to steal the crown from reigning light-heavyweight ruler Gegard Mousasi, and middleweight champ Jake Shields faces off against PRIDE/UFC legend Dan Henderson in the biggest fight of his career. Live Strikeforce: Nashville results await you after the jump, beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for round-by-round updates and the usual jokes about Frank Shamrock’s braces and Stephen Quadros’s clown-makeup. 

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This Is Why Shinya Aoki and American MMA Need Each Other

Shinya Aoki
(There’s a reason the Japanese version of The Fonz was never as popular.)

Because of his limited English skills and the general lack of western media access to him, we don’t get to hear from Shinya Aoki in his own words all that often. As a recent interview with Japan’s Gong Magazine (then translated for Fighter’s Only) confirms, that’s a damn shame. Aoki more or less refused to get bogged down in the normal/boring technical discussion about how his style matches up with Gilbert Melendez’s, and instead cut right to what he feels the stakes are in this bout:

“Japan’s best comes to USA. This is amazing…my technical side is evidenced by my long career. It is the same as my old fights so it does not need to be discussed. Instead, the most important point is this: ‘If Aoki loses, it is over for Japan’
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Threat of the Day: Watch Your Arm, Gilbert

Shinya Aoki Mizuto Hirota arm break Dynamite!! MMA
(Sure, you’ll save a few bucks going to an unlicensed chiropractor, but you wind up paying for it in other ways.)

From a new report on MMA Junkie:

Shinya Aoki is not sorry he broke Mizuto Hirota’s arm this past New Year’s Eve, nor is he sorry about his actions afterward. Aoki (23-4 MMA, 0-0 SF) caught Hirota’s right arm in a ghastly hammerlock in the first round of their "Dynamite!! 2009" bout and cranked until the limb visibly – and audibly – broke. As Hirota grimaced in pain on the mat, Aoki stood overhead and flipped the bird at his opponent. And though he faced a wave of condemnation that included his dismissal from a teaching position at the gym in which he belongs, Aoki has no regrets.

"No (I don’t) because it happened during the fight," Aoki told MMAjunkie.com through his translator during a media day promoting his upcoming fight with Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (17-2 MMA, 7-1 SF) at Strikeforce: Nashville…"Sometime in the future, it may happen," Aoki said. "I can’t deny that it will happen again."

Of course, it had already happened twice before during Aoki’s combat career: When he snapped Keith Wisniewski’s arm in Shooto, and when he dislocated Kuniyoshi Hironaka’s arm in a grappling match. The man is very disrespectful towards arms, basically, and he refuses to feel bad about it. Of course, what really got Aoki in hot water after the Hirota fight was his Stockton-style celebration, which I can’t really see him doing in the U.S. against a guy he has no personal history with. But the bottom line is this: Don’t be a hero, Gilbert. If Aoki has your arm, just tap, unless you want to spend the rest of the year in recovery. Aoki’s already pissed off about the shorts situation. But for a Strikeforce championship belt? Dios mio, he gonna carve you up real nice.

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Photo of the Day: Shinya Aoki Misses His Tights


(Photo courtesy of Esther Lin at AllElbows.com)

Sometimes in life we must give up that which we love in order to pursue our dreams. It isn’t easy, and often it rips out some part of our soul, but we suck it up and do it anyway because that’s how badly we want to prove that the top of the MMA world is Japan. Just look at Shinya Aoki up there, stripped of his magic tights and forced to wear shorts like some narcissistic American surfer. Imagine the shame his family must feel. The utter disgrace. And yet, this is what the man is willing to go through to fight Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce next Saturday. That’s called sacrifice, people.

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Three Title Fights Slated for April Strikeforce Show; Overeem vs. Rogers Likely for May

Gegard Mousasi Sokoudjou Strikeforce
King Mo Strikeforce energy drink

While the date of Fedor Emelianenko‘s return is still uncertain, Strikeforce is moving ahead with plans for a monster CBS card in Nashville on April 17th, which is expected to feature three title fights. Along with the headlining middleweight title scrap between Dan Henderson and Jake Shields, MMA Weekly has reported that Gegard Mousasi will defend his light-heavyweight belt against top contender Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal. Mousasi, who is riding a 15-fight win streak, hasn’t officially defended his Strikeforce strap since winning it from Renato Sobral last August, but has scored wins over Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (in a Strikeforce non-title fight) and Gary Goodridge (in a Dynamite!! 2009 squash match) since then. King Mo is 6-0 in his relatively short MMA career, and wrecked Mike Whitehead at his Strikeforce debut in December, but is facing a massive leap in competition against the Young Vagabond.

Also on the Shields vs. Henderson card, a lightweight title fight between Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez and DREAM champ Shinya Aoki has been booked, according to Sherdog; Aoki’s title will not be on the line. Melendez recently regained the Strikeforce belt in a rematch against Josh Thomson. Aoki became DREAM’s lightweight champ by submitting Joachim Hansen last October, then followed up that performance by breaking Mizuto Hirota’s arm.

Meanwhile, in the heavyweight division…

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‘Strikeforce: Evolution’ Salaries — Le Leads the Pack, King Mo Docked for Energy Drink Explosion

Scott Smith Cung Le Strikeforce MMA
(The face on the broad behind the cage pretty much says it all. Photo courtesy of Esther Lin/shosports.)

Salary info has been released for Saturday’s Strikeforce event, with headliner Cung Le taking home nearly a third of the $481,200 disclosed payroll. As you’ll see, Strikeforce doesn’t always follow the 100% win bonus structure that’s become standard operating procedure in the UFC. One exception is Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, who doubled his $10,000 show-money with his victory over Mike Whitehead — but was reportedly fined 10% of his purse by the CSAC for spraying Rockstar Energy Drink all over the cage after his fight like a complete jackass. Hopefully Rockstar makes it up to Mo for the extra publicity he gave them. And now onto the numbers…

Scott Smith: $55,000 (no win bonus)
def. Cung Le: $150,000

Gilbert Melendez: $55,000 (no win bonus)
def. Josh Thomson: $30,000

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza: $65,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Matt Lindland: $50,000

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