Strikeforce Lightweight Championship Gilbert Melendez managed to overcome the odds and defeated DREAM Lightweight Champion and Shooto Middleweight Champion Shinya Aoki tonight at Strikeforce: Nashville in a bout with Melendez’s title on the line.
Melendez dominated Aoki for five straight rounds to garner a unanimous decision victory. Melendez was able to stuff every takedown attempt from Aoki and dominate the Japanese superstar with his superior stand-up. While the bout was far from a classic, it catapults Melendez up near the top of the lightweight rankings.
It’s unclear about who is next in line for Melendez. While his teammate Jake Shields may be heading for greener pastures in the UFC, Melendez told Mark Wayne of FightLine.com earlier this week that he plans on staying with Strikeforce.
“I’m very happy with the Strikeforce organization,” Melendez said. “As of now, I see myself going with Strikeforce for as long as possible because they take care of me so well.
“But yeah man, of course, the common fan recognizes the UFC a hundred times more than any other organization and I feel like sometimes, to get that respect, you might need to go out there. But I think Strikeforce is on to something and I’m actually able to get my respect and my exposure through them so I’m pretty happy. But there are people I see myself fighting in the UFC; [I’m] not necessarily going to be going into the organization. But [UFC president] Dana White hasn’t called me up or hasn’t expressed great interest in me or tried to reach me or anything and [Strikeforce president] Scott Coker gives me a lot of attention, so right now I’m happy where I’m at.”
For full results from Strikeforce: Nashville from our live coverage here at FightLine.com earlier tonight, click here.