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Tag: Gilbert Melendez

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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‘Strikeforce: Evolution’ Live Results + Commentary

Josh Thomson Gilbert Melendez Strikeforce MMA
(Pace yourself, Josh, this isn’t a posing competition. If it was, Lindland would have already taken Physique of the Night. Photo courtesy of Strikeforce.)

Cung Le returns from Hollywood, lightweight champ Josh Thomson tries to make it 2-0 against interim belt-holder Gilbert Melendez, Matt Lindland and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza battle for middleweight contendership, and King Mo takes on another heavyweight for some reason — all in all, not a bad night for Strikeforce’s mid-level stars. Round-by-round results from the Showtime broadcast are after the jump; refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest.

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Thomson/Melendez Rematch Re-Re-Re-Scheduled for ‘Strikeforce: Evolution’

Gilbert Melendez Josh Thomson MMA Strikeforce
(Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

In the 17 months that Josh Thomson has been Strikeforce’s lightweight champion, he has defended his title exactly zero times. His only fight since grabbing the belt from Gilbert Melendez in June 2008 was a non-title squash match against Ashe Bowman last September, and he hasn’t been able to compete at all this year due to a series of leg injuries. And even though a planned rematch with now-interim-champ Melendez has been canceled three times already, Strikeforce is rolling the dice again. According to GracieFighter, Thomson vs. Melendez II will go down at "Evolution," Strikeforce’s December 19th show at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

Despite being constantly jerked around by Thomson’s withdrawals, Melendez has been able to fight twice since last June, scoring stoppage victories over Rodrigo Damm and Mitsuhiro Ishida. The Ishida fight at Carano vs. Cyborg avenged Melendez’s first career loss; beating Thomson would clean his slate completely. With Thomson coming off a year-and-a-half of injuries and inactivity, you have to like El Niño’s chances. The current lineup for Strikeforce: Evolution looks like this…

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Josh Thomson Breaks Leg Again, Hopes for December Return

Josh Thompson Punk MMA
("I’ll have the usual." Photo courtesy of MMA TKO.)

We can officially add Strikeforce lightweight champ Josh Thomson to the list of Epically Cursed fighters that already includes James Irvin and Amir Sadollah. The Punk told MMA Weekly that he re-broke his leg in training, postponing his return — and rematch against interim champion Gilbert Melendez — even further:

“I was really just playing around, just working on my technique, and this kid, this little blue belt, grabbed a leglock—I was wearing a gi—and I couldn’t slide my leg out. He just bellied out on the leglock in the standing position and you just heard the bone go crunch. The hairline fracture turned into an actual break.”
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CagePotato Comments of the Week

Cris Cyborg Cristiane Evangelista Santos MMA
(Nine months later, Cris gave birth to a litter of wolverines. Photo courtesy of YorkBlog.com.)

Wow, TGIF you guys, amirite? We might as well give away some obsolete t-shirts. (Don’t worry, a new design is in the works. These things take time.) This week’s big winners are…

Sneaky Pete on "Scott Coker Viciously Punk’d by Cris Cyborg": Of all the parties involved with the prank, I think the hypothetical baby was the most relieved.

agentsmith on "Mitsuhiro Ishida Claims Gilbert Melendez Was Greasy": I’m reserving judgement on this matter until I hear what Ishida’s mother has to say.

And finally, a "Classic MMA Moments Recreated in MS Paint" submission that hits very close to home…

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Mitsuhiro Ishida Claims Gilbert Melendez Was Greasy

Gilbert Melendez Mitsuhiro Ishida MMA Strikeforce
(Photo courtesy of Strikeforce.)

As first reported by f4wonline.com and confirmed by FiveOuncesofPain, members of Mitsuhiro Ishida‘s camp have issued a verbal complaint to the California State Athletic Commission that Gilbert Melendez was illegally greased up during their fight at Saturday’s Strikeforce event. Melendez defeated Ishida by third-round TKO in a one-sided match marked by Melendez’s flawless counter-punching and takedown defense. During their first meeting in 2007, Ishida was able to control Melendez with his takedowns and grappling, which could explain why Ishida thought something didn’t feel right in San Jose. Melendez, of course, dismissed the charges as ludicrous, telling Sherdog:

“I did not grease in the fight. The athletic commission was with me the whole time. I didn’t bring any grease with me. I didn’t think there was much grappling in the fight anyway…. It’s kind of funny, but kind of weak. I beat him good and there’s no way I greased.”

Ishida has until the end of the week to file a formal complaint in writing if he wants to further pursue the charge. As we’ve seen in the past, greasing accusations can be effective if you’re Japanese, and the guy who beat you is Korean, and the fight took place in Japan. It’s a lot harder to find sympathy in the U.S., even when you have an entire music video’s worth of evidence.

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