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Strikeforce Champion Gilbert Melendez To Defend Title Later This Year

Gilbert Melendez will not be fighting in the UFC anytime soon, as Strikeforce has announced the lightweight champion will defend his title later this year.

Melendez had expressed interest in following teammate Nick Diaz at to the UFC, but instead will face Jorge Masvidal, this according to his trainer Cesar Gracie.

Melendez (19-2) returned from a one-year layoff to defeat Tatsuya Kawajiri earlier this year. The win was his fifth straight.

Masvidal (22-6) earned the title shot by defeating K.J. Noons by decision. At the time, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker proclaimed the winner of that bout as the frontrunner to face Melendez.

Strikeforce has yet to announce any cards past September, but the company is not expected to host any events in October. Instead, it seems as if November or December the likely date for the title fight.