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Gilbert Melendez Expecting A Grind With Pat Healy In September

Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez doesn’t feel as if he’s been his former “El Nino” self as of late. Next month, he’ll get another chance to show his skills against Pat Healy in the main event of Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy.

Melendez (21-2) hasn’t lost since 2008, but has been taken to the scorecards in each of his last two fights. Melendez toppled Josh Thomson via split decision earlier this year, his seventh consecutive victory.

“I want to show up to the best of my abilities,” said Melendez, during an interview on Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman Saturday night. “I don’t think I’ve done that in my last few fights.”

Melendez will defend his title against Healy, a veteran of the sport who is on a five-fight win streak himself.

“I am looking forward to fighting Healy,” Melendez said. “It’s a tough task to defend your throne. Healy is a durable guy who wants to put me against the fence and try to sub me; I am prepared for a grinder.”

-Sully Sullivan contributed to this article-